I’m kind of a purist when it comes to puttanesca-style anything: the olives have to be oil-cured.
- 1/2 loaf peasant bread
- 2 pounds plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- ¹?³ cup EVOO
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 fresh red Fresno chile or Italian cherry pepper, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
Wrap the bread in foil or plastic (see Heads-Up).
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, parsley, onion, and bell pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the EVOO, vinegar, anchovy paste, garlic, chile, and lemon juice.
Make-ahead: Refrigerate the bread, tomato mixture, and dressing separately.
Night of: Return everything to room temp.
Place the bread in a deep bowl and pour in enough water to soak and soften it. Once it’s softened, tear into big chunks and squeeze out the water. Pull the bread into smaller pieces and add to the tomato mixture. Add the olives and dressing and toss well. Let sit for a few minutes for the bread to absorb the dressing and juices.
Heads-up: Ideally, you need stale bread for a panzanella, so the first step in the recipe is to wrap the bread loosely in foil and refrigerate it. If you won’t be making this dish for several days, wrap the bread in plastic to keep it from going too far. It will still get stale—it just won’t be as hard as a rock.