Rustic bread and cheese salad

    20 min

    Inspired by the Italian salad called panzanella, this combines crisp, garlic-flavoured bread cubes with sweet, juicy tomatoes and crunchy salad vegetables. Gruyèe and Parmesan cheeses add wonderful flavour as well as vital minerals. Try it for lunch or supper, with more bread to boost the starchy carbohydrate.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 2 ciabatta rolls or 1 small baguette
    • 2 garlic cloves, halved
    • 1 egg, hard-boiled
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 150 g (5½ oz) plain low-fat yogurt
    • 75 g (2½ oz) Gruyère cheese
    • 50 g (1¾ oz) Parmesan cheese
    • 1 cos lettuce or 2 romaine lettuce hearts, cut into bite-sized chunks
    • 2 beefsteak tomatoes or 4 plum tomatoes, skinned (optional) and cut into bite-sized chunks
    • 1 bunch of spring onions, sliced
    • 1 small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:20min  ›  Ready in:20min 

    1. Preheat the grill. Slice the rolls or bread horizontally in half and toast both sides lightly under the grill. Rub the cut sides of the garlic over the toasted sides of the bread. Reserve the garlic cloves. Cut the bread into bite-sized cubes and set aside.
    2. Separate the yolk and white of the hard-boiled egg. Roughly chop the white and set it aside. Mash the yolk with the mustard in a small bowl, then gradually stir in the lemon juice and yogurt, with seasoning to taste, to form a smooth dressing.
    3. Using a cheese plane or vegetable peeler, cut fine shavings or very thin slices from the Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses. Alternatively, coarsely grate the cheese.
    4. Rub the inside of a salad bowl with the reserved garlic cloves, then discard the garlic. Place the lettuce in the bowl and add the tomatoes, spring onions and fennel.
    5. Add the dressing to the salad and toss lightly. Scatter over the egg white, bread cubes and cheese. Mix gently and serve at once, before the bread begins to soften.

    Some more ideas

    Use 1 head of Chinese leaves, about 400–450 g (14–16 oz), and 200 g (7 oz) iceberg lettuce instead of cos or romaine lettuce. Shred and mix the Chinese leaves and iceberg. * Try 170 g (6 oz) feta cheese, crumbled, instead of Gruyèe and Parmesan and add a few black olives, stoned and chopped. Omit the dressing and instead serve lemon wedges and black pepper to sprinkle over the salad. * Grilled haloumi cheese is excellent with a salad such as this. Cut the cheese into fairly thick slices and place them on a flameproof dish. Cook under a hot grill until golden on both sides, turning once. Lay the cheese on individual portions of the prepared salad (made without Gruyèe and Parmesan) and serve straightaway.

    Plus points

    The traditional combination of cheese and tomato offers a delicious source of protein, vitamins and minerals. * In addition to calcium, Gruyère cheese is a good source of zinc, a mineral essential for the process of wound healing. * Fennel is thought to aid digestion and relieve wind. It also provides phytoestrogen and it is a good source of potassium.

    Each serving provides

    C, calcium * A, B12, E, folate, niacin * B1, B2, B6, copper, iron, potassium, selenium, zinc

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