Fennel & Tomato Panzanella with Home-made Ricotta by Alice Zaslavksy
Fennel & Tomato Panzanella with Home-made Ricotta
Yield: Serves 4 as a side or starter
1 small fennel bulb, fronds picked and reserved
1 red onion, thinly sliced into rounds
500 grams heirloom tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
150 grams sourdough bread, torn
3 tablespoons crispy fried shallots, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
holy basil or green or purple basil, to serve (optional)
Ricotta (makes 2 cups)
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 litre 3.5% milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Ricotta: To make the ricotta, add the fennel to saucepan with the milk. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in lemon juice. As soon as mixture splits, remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes to curdle.
Line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth and strain the mixture through the sieve to separate curds and whey. Reserve the whey for your next batch of pancakes or vegetable soup!
Place the sieve over a large bowl and leave in fridge for one hour to drain and cool completely.
Salad: Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise then use mandoline to thinly slice the fennel halves on the cut side. Place in a bowl of ice water.
Toss the onion, tomatoes and vinegar in a bowl. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add the bread chunks and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Add the shallot flakes and the caraway, sesame and nigella seeds. Cook for 1-2 minutes longer, until fragrant.
To serve: drain the fennel and toss with tomato mixture. Arrange on a platter and crumble the ricotta over. Sprinkle with crispy bread mixture, fennel fronds and basil. Finish with a final drizzle of olive oil.