Toasted panzanella salad with lamb

by Ginny Grant | Cuisine issue #156
Serves: 4Summer visitors often mean extra loaves of bread appearing in the house. When it becomes a glut, this Tuscan salad using stale bread is one of my favourite ways to use up a loaf.

Don’t try and cut down on the olive oil – it’s what gives the bread flavour and crunch, plus it amalgamates with the tomato juices to create a dressing.

2 cloves garlic, crushed
50ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying the lamb
1 loaf day-old ciabatta
5 large tomatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 boneless lamb leg steaks
1⁄2 cup basil leaves, torn
6 anchovies, cut into thin slivers

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Mix the garlic with the oil and put in a large bowl. Remove the crust from the bread and discard. Tear the bread into 3cm-4cm chunks then put in the bowl with the oil and toss to combine. Arrange on a baking- paper-lined oven tray in a single layer and season with salt.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden, turning the chunks over halfway through.

Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes in half and strain the juices through a sieve and into a jug. Add the vinegar and set aside. Using your hands, tear the tomato flesh into rough pieces and put in another bowl.

Heat a little extra oil in a frying pan over moderate heat. Season the lamb with salt and freshly ground black pepper then cook for 3-4 minutes each side, depending on the thickness of the meat, or until cooked to your liking. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes then slice thinly.

Put the bread in a bowl and toss with the tomato juice mix until coated. Add the tomato pieces, basil and anchovies. Toss to combine then arrange on a large platter and top with the lamb.

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