3 min read


Michael gives us an all-access pass to his cult-status Panzanella. Michael’s been serving this Tuscan tomato and bread salad at both Forza Win and Forza Wine every summer for the last few years. Jay Rayner gave the dish its own shoutout in his Guardian review, musing on ‘the taut-skinned and buxom’ tomatoes that leak ‘sweet juices over your lips and into the golden-brown croutons of fried bread.'

"The best thing for it, in my opinion, is a whole BBQ sea bass on the bone. It goes with literally anything, and it's also great on its own."


Michael has built the dish specifically around Raffaele’s Cuore del Vesuvio Tomatoes— noting how their insane levels of juices blend with the olive oil and are soaked up into the chunky sourdough croutons. A complex, acidic variety, Michael pickles the red onions but doesn’t allow any of the vinegar into the final mix; the dressing is bright enough.

Before I start, there aren’t any quantities in this recipe. Add as much of everything as you feel you should add, be generous, it's your salad so make it how you like it. If everything is tasted all the way through you won't go far wrong.



Red onions
Red wine vinegar (as nice as you can find but not sweet! We use Chianti vinegar but basic red wine vinegar works great)
Big bunch of basil
Decent sea salt
Sourdough - crusts remove, flesh torn up into nice big chunks
Decent extra virgin olive oil
Natoora’s finest Cuore del Vesuvio tomatoes at room temperature, cold tomatoes are not the one
Capers in vinegar
Black pepper
Oven heated to 325

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1. Start by tossing your soon to be croutons in a big bowl with salt & olive oil, they want to be coated in oil as opposed to soaked in it.

2. Spread them out on a flat oven tray and roast at 325 in the oven. Check them after 10 minutes, they’ll probably need between 10 and 20 mins depending on your oven. You want them golden brown and delicious looking.

3. While the bread is in the oven, make some pink onions. Cut your red onions in half through the root and remove the skin, tip and root of the onion. Slice them from tip to route as thinly as possible. I use a bread knife or fruit knife, which is a bit cowboy but works a treat.

4. Put your sliced onions in a bowl and season with salt, then cover them in red wine vinegar, use plenty but they don’t need to be fully submerged. Leave them to pickle for about 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Slice your tomatoes in absolutely any way you want, big pieces look nicer on the plate. All you need to do is avoid the stem, which is quite deep on these tomatoes. Toss them in a big bowl with plenty of salt and olive oil.

6. Wait for 5 minutes, the salt will release a lot of delicious acidic juice from the tomatoes, that juice will mix with the olive oil and that is your dressing done. This bit wouldn’t happen anywhere near as well with crap tomatoes.

7. Drain the vinegar off your tomatoes and either discard or keep to pickle more onions next time. There’s so much acidity in the tomatoes that we don't need the liquid, just the spike of a pickled onion in every mouthful

8. Taste the juice and see if it needs more salt or oil. If you’re happy then start the final assembly.

9. Chuck in loads of croutons, basil leaves, capers, pink onions and grind in some black pepper (I like LOADS of pepper).

10. Wait another five minutes, this bit is very important, the croutons need to partially soak up the juices so you get the contrast of texture. Soggy bits, crunchy bits, yes.

11. Give it a taste with a bit of everything on the spoon, if you like it. Plate it.


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