Winter Panzanella

panzanellaThis months BBC Good Food recipe was contributed by the fantastic Diana Henry and is her Winter Panzanella. I cannot recommend Diana Henry’s books and recipes enough. While I only have 2 of her books, she does often write for BBC Good Food and her’s is always the first recipe I try from each issue. A panzanella is an Italian bread salad which typically has onion, tomato and basil. Stale bread is typically used, soaked in water and rang through. This is a winter version though swapping the onion, tomato and basil for garlic, cauliflower and parsley. Diana also toasts her bread leaving it really crunchy as opposed to the wet, soggy tradition. The change made me think of Syrian Fattoush, though nearly every culture probably has a similar way of using up stale bread.

One tip I can give from making this: once your cauliflower has steamed, take the steamer off the pan of water and remove the lid. I didn’t remove the lid from the steamer and my cauliflower stayed wet because of it, making it harder to colour in the pan later.

Also, from my experience, bread like this toasts better and more evenly in the oven just drizzled in oil. So if I had the bold audacity to change one of Dianna henry’s recipes, I think I’d fry the aromatics (chilli, garlic, anchovy) briefly in 4 tbsp of oil, just long enough until the anchovies dissolve, then toss the torn bread in the oil before laying it in a single layer on a baking tray and baking for maybe 15 mins at 200 C? Or until a nice even colour develops. Doing it this way helps the toast retain its crunch for longer after being mixed with wet ingredients.

Finally, the only non-vegan ingredient in this salad is the anchovy so if you’re interested in keeping it vegan, I’d swap the anchovy for some good, salty black olives chopped up well.

Winter Panzanella


  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 35g raisons, soaked and drained
  • 250g bread, sourdough/ciabatta/focaccia, torn into bitesized pieces
  • 2 red chillies, seeds removed, chopped finely
  • 4-7 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • about 4 tbsp coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 0.5-1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 good pinch of sea salt flakes


  1. Steam the cauliflower until almost cooked, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the bread to toast. Do this in batches if you prefer. Stir-fry until crisp and golden.
  3. Remove the toast briefly before you add the chilli, garlic and anchovy, plus another tbsp of oil if needed. Stir-fry until the anchovy starts to dissolve and add the toast back in. Stir to flavour the toast with the chilli/garlic/anchovy oil. Then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place the pan over a high heat and add the rest of the olive oil, 3-4 tbsp. Once it's hot, add the steamed cauliflower. Stir-fry until the cauliflower starts to take on a light golden-brown colour, then remove from the heat.
  5. To the bowl of toast, add the radishes, parsley, raisons, capers, cauliflower, vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Toss everything with your hands until everything is evenly dispersed throughout the salad.
  6. Transfer to a wide and shallow serving bowl and serve.
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