Winter panzanella salad with pan-fried sardines

This is an adaptation of an Tuscan salad consisting of soaked stale bread. Perhaps you have a half a loaf of sourdough to spare that's past it's best, this is a wonderful way of transforming it into something delicious for a hearty lunch or supper.

Usually you'd find ripe summer tomatoes in a panzanella, but this dish adapts to the seasons featuring curly kale, roasted root vegetables and capers. For my recipe I used honey-roasted parsnips, carrots and beetroot, alongside shallots and garlic. The humble sardine cooked in a sizzling griddle pan are the perfect accompaniment to bulk out the salad and make it go that bit further.


  • 4 banana shallots, peeled and halved

  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

  • 200g red grapes

  • 400g root vegetables, chopped into rough 2cm chunks

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 150g sourdough bread, torn into 2cm chunks

  • 2 sprigs sage, leaves picked

  • 1 small bunch parsley, leaves picked and stalks finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp baby capers

  • 350g winter greens (kale, sprout tops or purple sprouting broccoli)

  • 200-250g sardines, filleted

  • fresh parsley, roughly chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

  • ½ lemon: juice and zest

  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Heat the oven to 170c. Put the shallots, garlic cloves, grapes and root vegetables into a large baking tray, then add two tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, until the root veg is starting to soften.

  2. Remove the tray from the oven and add the sourdough, sage, parsley stalks and capers, and toss. Add two more tablespoons of oil and bake for a further 10 minutes, until everything is tender and golden, adding the greens for the last five minutes.

  3. Drizzle the sardines with olive oil and season. Heat a medium frying/griddle pan on a high heat. Place the sardine fillets skin side down in the pan and leave to cook for around 3 minutes. Set aside.

  4. In a jar or small bowl, shake or whisk together the dressing ingredients, then pour over the tray of vegetables, scatter with the parsley leaves, toss and serve alongside the sardines.

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