Did you watch the first of a six part series ''Second Chance Summer: Tuscany'' on BBC Two last night? If not, you missed a treat, particularly if your are a lover of Tuscany, as I am. Can't wait now to get back there this summer. The sun, the scenery and the food make me want to eat Italian today! And what a better choice than a panzanella -  this classic Italian salad is a colourful combination of tomatoes, black olives, hard boiled eggs and golden croutons. If you don't like olives then use asparagus tips instead.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
2 eggs
300g tomatoes - cut into wedges
6 black olives
6 crispy lettuce leaves
2 sun-dried tomatoes in oil - drained and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 small crusty sesame roll - cut into cubes
2tbs olive oil
1tbs balsamic vinegar
a few torn basil leaves

  • Heat the oven to 200'C or Gas Mark 6
  • Put the eggs into a saucepan of water, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes until hard-boiled. Drain, rinse under cold water, then leave to cool.
  • Meanwhile, put the cubes of bread into a small plastic bag with the olive oil and toss together. Tip on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 9 minutes until crisp and golden.
  • Put the tomatoes, lettuce, olives and sun-dried tomatoes into a large bowl. add the balsamic vinegar and basil and salt and pepper and then toss together.
  • Peel the eggs, cut into wedges and add to the salad with the warm croutons.
  • Eat straight away!


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