Pan molle di Prato


I think this has to be an ancestor of the famous panzanella, the stale bread and tomato salad so popular everywhere.

Here, you layer the ingredients nicely on top of bread slices that have soaked in a savory concoction of wine and herbs. Feel free to use any fresh vegetables you like and make it look pretty. Serve as an appetizer with a glass of bubbly or with a soup for an excellent lunch.

Adapted from Il grande libro della vera cucina Toscana, from Paolo Petroni.

Ingredients:

100 ml dry white wine
aromatics: thyme, marjoram, rosemary, bay leaves, 2 whole cloves, 1 garlic clove
stale bread
shallots
fresh tomatoes
cucumbers
radishes
leeks
Belgian endives
fresh herbs to garnish (optional)

For the dressing:

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Simply whisk all ingredients together and set aside.

Method:

1. Fill a shallow dish halfway with water. Add the wine and aromatics and put in the microwave for one minute on high. Leave at room temperature for at least one hour before using, longer will not hurt.
2. Cut the bread into 1 cm slices and soak them in the liquid for a minute or two. Squeeze them between your hands to remove all excess liquid, being careful not to tear them apart. I found that putting the slices between paper towels worked well.
3. Place the bread slices on serving plates, then layer the vegetables on top. Drizzle a good amount of your vinaigrette all over, season with fleur de sel and freshly cracked black pepper. Garnish with fresh herbs if using.

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