This is a twist on the traditional panzanella, a classic cucina povera dish which is usually made with tomatoes and bread. In this recipe I have used a variety of vegetables and cooked them with sugar and vinegar to give them an extra kick! If you can find fresella, the Pugliese hard double-baked bread, in your local deli, I suggest you use it, otherwise good country bread slowly cooked in the oven will do. This dish can be served warm or cold and, if you increase the quantities, makes a lovely light lunch.






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (8 votes)


  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into julienne strips
  • 120 g celeriac, peeled and cut into julienne strips
  • 125 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 French shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ red capsicum (pepper), deseeded and cut into julienne strips
  • ½ yellow capsicum (pepper), deseeded and cut into julienne strips
  • ½ eggplant (aubergine), cut into julienne strips
  • 1 small zucchini (courgette), cut into julienne strips
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 100 g fresella, softened with water, or toasted country bread
  • 8 basil leaves, roughly torn

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Blanch the carrot and celeriac strips in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the anchovies and cook, stirring, until they have almost dissolved into the oil.

Add the shallots and garlic and sweat over a medium-high heat until softened.

Add the capsicum, eggplant and zucchini strips and cook, stirring, over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, then stir in the thyme leaves, sugar and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

Add the blanched carrot and celeriac to the pan – taking care not to squash and break them – cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.

Remove from the heat and set aside.

Break the fresella or toasted country bread slices into bite-size pieces and assemble in a serving dish.

Top with the vegetables, scatter over the basil leaves and drizzle with a little oil. Serve immediately.