I have high hopes that my daughter will take an interest in cooking, she likes to pull up a chair sometimes when I am cooking and loves to watch me clean fish. This is something I would have never imagined, it is a disgusting process, pulling out gills and guts, and she’s often disappointed if I don’t invite her to watch, god forbid she miss the show. We made my birthday cake together and, the other day, peeling her away from climbing the bookshelves, I asked her to assist me with this panzanella. Since she can’t hold a knife, not yet, she wasn’t too much help, but I do like that she’ll stand around for a few minutes to watch the process.
Getting her to eat the food is the problem these days. I wouldn’t call her a picky eater, she is two, so she is just finicky at this point. I am hoping it is just a phase. She has days when she will eat a lot, days when she will try everything and days when even the things that are guarantees won’t pass her sweet lips. She did try the panzanella though, tricked by its bready appearance, but wouldn’t eat anything beyond the bread. Summer, I think she’s too hot to eat. Italians suggest just feeding her gelato, I think my daughter may have found heaven.
- 1 cup of tomatoes, chopped (any fresh tomato will work)
- 1 barattiere or pagnotta, seeds removed and chopped (these are very local types of cucumbers, they look and taste a little like a melon, can be substituted with a cucumber)
- 1/2 cup pickled lampascioni (another local treat, they are like tiny bitter onions, any sweet onion could replace this)
- 4 or 5 preserved artichoke hearts, cut into quarters
- 1/2 cup of black olives, pits removed
- 2 heaping tbsp capers
- 1 can of tuna packed in olive oil
- 5 or 6 basil leaves, cut into thin strips
- leftover bread, at least 5 or 6 slices (you want a good artisanal bread, commercial breads will only get soggy after they have been put under running water)
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Wet the bread all the way through, you don’t want to soak it, it just needs to get soft, but not soggy. Break into small pieces with your hands and place in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, lampascioni, artichoke hearts, olives, capers, tuna and basil. Toss through and let sit for at least an hour before serving. Drizzle olive oil over the salad and toss through immediately before serving.
Two Years Ago: Orecchiette with Cauliflower and Anchovies