My Aunt Loretta is an amazing cook. Truly terrific. The sort of woman who teaches healthy cooking classes to cancer patients, raised an incredible cook for a son, and makes the marshmallows from scratch that she uses on top of her sweet potato cassorole for Thanksgiving. She does this all with a huge smile on her face, immaculate nails and hair, perfect clothes and just the right amount of southern sass. She is a force to be reckoned with, let me tell you.
She emailed me a while back about a tomato bread salad that she did up with cod, and it sounded amazing because, well, I’ve never had anything shes made that wasn’t spot on.
So when my favourite neighbours dropped off some tomatoes from their community garden last week I could think of nothing else beside big chunks of bread fried in olive oil, big juicy pieces of local tomatoes and big leaves of basil all bound with lemon juice and capers. I bought some local mackerel because I love mackerel and it’s local here and cod isn’t but use whatever you can get!
So here it is, Aunt Loretta’s Panzanella.
1/2 a thin Baguette of 1/3 of a big one
2 Roma tomatoes, 1 beefsteak, or a big handful of cherry tomatoes cut into wedges.
1 tbsp Capers, I like the teeny tiny ones but use whatever you like best
Half a bunch of Basil
Juice of Half a Lemon
A handful of Arugula
2 Herring, Mackerel, or good fresh fish
1/4 cup Flour
Zest of half a lemon
Salt and Pepper
Turn your oven onto warm or 180F
Mix together the flour, the zest and a tespoon of salt. Dredge the fish in it.
In a small frying pan over medium high heat and add in a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the fish. Put the skin side down first and cook it almost all the way through then flip them and finish cooking the flesh side. Keep them warm in the oven.
Cut the baguette into 1 inch cubes
Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Add in 1/4 cup olive oil and fry up the bread flipping it reguarly until the bread is a glorious golden brown.
Meanwhile Mix the lemon juic, 1 tbsp olive oil, capers in the bottom of a large bowl.
Add in the tomatoes, arugala, and the basil and toss to combine.
Add in the bread and toss again, serve immediately with the fish on the side.