Sunday, April 24, 2011

Panzanella and signs of middle-classness

Even as I talk about identity being fluid, and personhood as pastiche, there is still a value to certain core forms of identification. In my case, middle-classness. Or to be more specific, socialist Indian eighties-style middle-classness. While a really poor eater through my childhood and teens, I nevertheless absorbed that one core lesson that all my peers learnt, "Do not waste food!". While most of my parents' generation has it down to a fine art, I am a rather confused arranger of all things leftover. As a result, I have to scout for recipes to figure out what to do with things such as day-old bread. This is one such.

Panzanella is an Tuscan bread salad and while it sounds to my ears, rather meaty, soggy and heavy, it is far from. Give it a go.

For 3-4 servings of Panzanella, you will need:

* A loaf of day-old bread
* 4 teaspoons of rice wine/ apple cider/cooking vinegar
* 2 cups of olive oil (It's good for you, so stop sighing!)
* 2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
* 2 cucumbers peeled and chopped
* 2 tomatoes chopped
* A cup of basil leaves
* Salt and pepper

1. Soak the bread in water enough to cover it; add 2 teaspoons of vinegar
2. After 15 minutes, squeeze out all the water and crumble into fine particles into a bowl or serving dish

3. Add salt, pepper, garlic, 2 tsps vinegar, garlic, and 1/2 a cup of oil. Mix well.
4. Then add the cucumber, tomatoes, and the remaining oil. Tear pieces of basil leaves and add them in.
5. Cover well and chill for at least an hour.

I have seen a number of variations so you can imagine this is easy to play with; add celery, sage, marjoram, perhaps even some feta.

I adapted this recipe from the Organic Tuscany Cookbook and if any of you generous souls feel like planning me a birthday present in advance, I need cooking lessons here!

Panzanella is light, and effervescent, it is the both light and delicious and a little like a summer's day in the park. I could do with a frisbee now.

But the day is at an end and I have the week to contemplate, so I will now settle down to my salad and a glass of wine and leave you fine people to whatever it is that you want to do. Perhaps work, perhaps play, perhaps even nothing. Alright, I have to go. I need wine. And music.