The Food Gatherer's Note: This traditional Italian recipe can be a bit divisive. Some love the clash of sweet tomatoes and peppers with the saltiness of capers and anchovies and the acidity of the vinegar in this classic peasant dish that was designed with the pure intention of using up stale bread. Others loathe it, I admit vinegary stale bread doesn't sound most appealing, but personally I love the flavours and I enjoy the thrill of creating something so flavoursome out of bread that's past its best. I would use a jar of roasted peppers for ease.
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 red peppers or 2 roasted peppers from a jar.
8 ripe tomatoes
200g stale country bread
4tbsp white wine vinegar
2 anchovies, finely chopped
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
6tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Small bunch of fresh basil
Put the onion slices in a bowl of cold water with a pinch of salt, and leave to soak for an hour.
If using the jar of roast peppers, then pull 2 whole peppers out of the jar and drain the cut into long strips. Or if cooking from scratch, blacken the fresh peppers on a gas hob, or using a kitchen blowtorch, then put in a plastic bag or a bowl covered in clingfilm and leave for 20 minutes. Then, scrape as much black skin off the peppers as you can, and cut them into long strips.
Cut the tomatoes into large dice and place in a colander set over a bowl. Salt and leave to drain while you prepare the other ingredients.
Tear the bread into chunks about the same size as the tomatoes, put into a salad bowl and moisten with vinegar. Drain the onion and add to the bowl, along with the capers and the peppers.
Gently press the tomatoes to squeeze out the last juice, then put the flesh in the bowl.
Stir the chopped anchovies and crushed garlic into the tomato juice and then whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste.
Pour on to the salad and toss thoroughly. Roughly tear the basil leaves and sprinkle on top. Allow to sit for between 15 minutes and an hour, then serve.