At River Cottage, the team likes to include a little fruit in their panzanella recipe, as it enhances the flavour of the tomatoes. Strawberries are a favourite addition, but gooseberries and raspberries work well, too – and if you can, try using lovage or celery leaves instead of the basil – both work beautifully.

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2 as a main, 4 as a side
2 slices of slightly stale sourdough or ciabatta
1kg of mixed, slightly over-ripe, tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 tbsp of capers, roughly chopped
100g of black Kalamata olives, pitted
150g of halved gooseberries, quartered strawberries or whole raspberries
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
A small bunch of basil (25g), leaves picked
Step 1

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Tear the bread into large chunks and scatter on a baking tray.

Step 2

Toast in the oven for 3-5 minutes until crisp and lightly golden, turning once. Remove and allow to cool.

Step 3

Pick the ripest 2 tomatoes (fairly soft is fine) and squish them in your hands into a sieve set over a large bowl.

Step 4

Using the back of a wooden spoon, press the tomato flesh through the sieve; discard the seeds and skins. Cut the rest of the tomatoes into wedges or chop them roughly and add to the bowl containing the tomato juice.

Step 5

Dice the cucumber and add to the tomatoes with the red onion, capers, olives, and your choice of fruit.

Step 6

Toss in the toasted bread chunks and trickle in the olive oil. Roughly tear half of the basil leaves into the salad. Tumble everything together and allow the salad to sit for 15-20 minutes.

Step 7

Season the panzanella with salt and pepper to taste and give it a final toss. Tear over the remaining basil and serve.

River Cottage Great Salads by Gelf Alderson (Bloomsbury Publishing, £17.99, was £20).

Photography by Emma Lee

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