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  • Writer's pictureLisa Davies

Spring Panzanella

As it was Food Waste Day last week I made this seasonal version of a panzanella (recipe below) and had a good chat with Aislinn Barrett, Head of Corporate and Social Responsibility at Airfield Estate about how we can reduce food waste.

Here's the recipe:

Spring Panzanella

Ingredients -Serves 2

Red Wine Vinaigrette 1/2 finely diced shallot 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper Croutons About 4 slices day-old sourdough bread (approx. 125g bread) 30ml olive oil Salt and pepper 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed 40g finely grated Parmesan

Salad 1/2 medium red onion, sliced thinly 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar About 350g asparagus 1 tin of butter or cannellini beans, drained 125g croutons Handful of large mint leaves


Red Wine Vinaigrette In a small bowl or jar, let the shallot sit in the vinegar for 15 minutes to macerate, then add olive oil, a generous pinch of salt and a small pinch of pepper. Stir or shake to combine, then taste and adjust salt and acid as needed. Dressing can be made 3 days ahead of time and kept in a sealed jar in the fridge.

Croutons Preheat the oven to 200℃ It is up to you whether you, remove the crusts from the bread. Cut the loaf into 2.5 cm thick cubes. Toss the croutons with the olive oil to coat them evenly, then add the garlic and Parmesan, then spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Use a second sheet as needed to prevent crowding, which will entrap steam and keep the croutons from browning. Toast croutons for about 10-12 minutes, checking them after 8 minutes Bake croutons until they’re golden brown and crunchy on the outside. When cooked, let the croutons cool in a single layer on the baking sheet. Use immediately or keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To refresh stale croutons, bake for 3 to 4 minutes at 200℃. Freeze leftover croutons for up to 2 months.

Salad Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Set aside. Toss sliced onion in a small bowl with the vinegar and let it sit for 10 minutes to macerate. Set aside. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Prepare the asparagus if it is thicker than a pencil, peel it, pressing lightly with a vegetable peeler to remove only the outermost skin from about 2cm below the blossom to the base. Slice the asparagus into 4cm pieces on the diagonal. Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water until it’s just tender, about 3 minutes (less for thinner stalks). Taste a piece to make sure it is cooked - should still have a crunch in the centre. Drain and allow to cool in a single layer on the prepared sheets. Or you can shock the asparagus in an ice bath to cool it quickly. Place half the croutons in a large bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Add the remaining croutons, asparagus, beans and macerated onions (but not their vinegar) Tear in the mint leaves in small pieces. Dress with the rest of the vinaigrette and season with salt, and the onion vinegar if needed, taste again and serve at room temperature.

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