This fried caper version of panzanella is pretty much all the things I love. It is best made with fresh summer garden tomatoes, which I did not have, so I used the best store tomatoes I could find. If you have a garden, or know someone who grows them, do yourself a favor and use those.
This salad combines the freshness of good tomatoes with garlic, shallot, fried capers, and bread toasted in olive oil with a splash of sherry vinegar and it is SO good. I used almost a whole jar of capers, because we all love them, but you can be more reasonable with it if you like. 🙂
I used some rye sourdough for the bread cubes. Sourdough or another sturdy bread work best here, since the bread will be absorbing some dressing. You don’t want to use really soft bread like white bread, because it will break down and be mushy. You want the bread to soak up some dressing, but you still want it to be chewy and a bit crunchy in places. We had this salad along with some soup, but it makes a great side dish for a lot of meals.
Fried Caper Panzanella
- 1/4 cup olive oil I used garlic olive oil
- 1/2 cup capers drained
- 2 cups cubed bread rye, sourdough other sturdy bread
- 1 shallot sliced thinly
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- sprinkle of red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp fresh oregano minced or used dried and use 1/2 tsp
- 1 tsp fresh thyme minced or used 1/2 tsp dried
- 2-3 tbsp sherry vinegar to taste
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 lbs good tomatoes cut into large pieces
- Cut the tomatoes and place in a large bowl.
- Heat 1/2 the oil in a large skillet over medium high and add the capers. Fry until they are crispy (about 5 min). Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the oil and add the rest of the oil.
- Add the bread cubes and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the bread is toasted on the outside but still chewy in the inside. Reduce heat if needed to prevent burning. Add the garlic and shallot and sprinkle the pan with salt and pepper. Toss and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the capers and toss. Place this mixture in the bowl with the tomatoes and sprinkle with sherry vinegar and more salt and pepper. Add the herbs and red pepper flakes. Gently toss and taste the seasoning. Adjust as needed and serve right away while the bread is still a bit crisp.