Thursday, 21 December 2017

Summer Panzanella, the only salad recipe you need this summer from Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat | #GIVEAWAY

Welcome summer, you stinker you!!

I don’t know about the oven in your kitchen but when it’s a stinker like it has been for the past few days the last thing I want to do it turn my oven on. In winter we turn it on and use it as a heater, why on earth would we want that in summer?! Ok, I can think of two reasons. One, you promised mince pies to the office (totally regretting this one) and two, you get sent a lovely new cookbook. Tuesday was one of those days where both exceptions happened. And now we have a new rule in our home; I'm not allowed to turn the oven on throughout summer.

Ok so what recipe and book called for the oven to be turned on on a 30C+ day? First, the recipe, torn croutons of course. Yes dear readers, torn croutons. And I’m going to say you should do the same and get that oven cranking. It was totally worth it. No I didn’t just eat torn croutons, although they were delicious to snack on, they were for a Summer Panzanella Salad. This time of year, when it’s hot and you don’t want to eat steamy foods is the perfect time of year for this salad. The tomatoes make up a big portion and are beautiful and fragrant and just taste like summer right now but you also get the combination of dressing soaked croutons and the crunch from the croutons you add last minute. It’s a salad with the best kind of carbs and it’s delicious.

The book, Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. If you like knowing the nerdy things about food and cooking and what happens when you apply those elements to food then this cookbook is right up your alley. Me, I’m a food nerd all the way. As soon as I wake up in the morning I’m already thinking about my meals for the day and what I get to eat and cook. After breakfast and packing my lunch for work, I’m already mentally running through ingredients in the freezer, fridge and pantry and deciding on dinner. My mind is constantly thinking about food and cooking.

Samin Nosrat, the brilliant chef behind the book, learnt to cook in a commercial kitchen. It was all about salt, fat, acid and heat. She learnt these elements from chefs who cooked without recipes and made consistently delicious meals each service. It’s the way she developed her intuition with cooking and this book is her way of teaching the rest of us to do the same. So we can cook on our own more often and not rely solely on a recipe word for word, allowing us to change things up, make it our own.

This book is like cooking school in a book. The first half of the book will teach you the basics Samin preaches; salt, fat, acid and heat. She passes on her wisdom and explains the way each element works, uses for it, why you use it and also when to use it. Watch this video for salt. Makes so much sense!

Samin’s writing is fun and full of stories along the way making this book part memoir, reference book and cookbook. In her words, it will turn a good cook into a great cook.

I’ve been cooking, learning and reading about food for over 10 years now (that makes me feel a little old), I’ve worked in commercial kitchens of restaurants and patisseries and have already learnt a tonne from this book. Somethings I knew but never really knew the how, others were a lightbulb moment and some just super handy to know eg. I had no clue that sushi rice requires less water than long grain rice, my sushi rice will never be soggy/waterlogged again. There are tips for flavour combinations from around the world and the recipes in the second half of the book have recommendations for accompaniments, other versions and what else you can serve with it. The salad dressing section in this book is one I will forever use! There are no photographs so if you are one for glossy photographs in a cookbook, you might need to think outside the book(ha!) but it’s full of illustrations. Samin explains she didn't want photographs in this book, so you can use the lessons she creates to cook the recipes she shares without a visual, allowing you to focus on flavour. It’s a neat idea.

But now more on that Summer Panzanella.

It’s a combination of summer tomatoes, crisp cucumber, fragrant basil and mellowed (vinegar soaked) onions all dressed in a tomato vinaigrette because you can never have enough tomatoes in summer, am I right?! Oh and torn croutons. These little beauties are what you cannot miss in this salad. They soak up all the dressing, juice and flavour and add a simple carb to the salad making it a meal in one or a great side for some bbq chicken or steak, no potatoes needed. This salad will be on high rotation this summer while tomatoes are at their best. Come Autumn, I’ll have to give the Autumn version a go.

Enough blabbing (thank you if you did read all that). But now on to why most of you are likely here... I was very kindly given a copy of Salt Fat Acid Heat to giveaway and I thought what better day to do a cookbook giveaway than on my birthday! Yep that’s right trusty readers, a freebie for you. It’s a big, fun, full of information, nerdy cookbook that could be yours. All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me your favourite thing to make in summer (with or without the oven) and the lucky winner will be notified via email. Open to Australian residents only, competition closes 26.12.2017 11pm AEDT.

Get in quick and leave me some love!

**Update: This giveaway has ended. THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU for everyone who commented and entered! 

Summer Panzanella: Tomato, Basil, and Cucumber

recipe from Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat

½ medium red onion, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
225g torn croutons, see recipe below
double batch of tomato vinaigrette, see recipe below
450g cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
675g flavourful small tomatoes (about 8), cored and wedged into bite-sized pieces
4 persian/lebanese cucumbers, stripey peeled** and cut into 1cm slices
16 basil leaves
Flaky sea salt

**Remove the skin in alternate strips, leaving some behind and removing some.

In a small bowl, toss the sliced onion with the vinegar and let it sit for 20 minutes to macerate. Set aside.

Place half the croutons in a large salad bowl and toss with 125ml of vinaigrette. Place the cherry and wedged tomatoes on top of the croutons and season with salt to encourage them to release some of their juices. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

Continue assembling the salad: add the remaining croutons, cucumber, and macerated onions (but not their vinegar, yet). Tear in the basil leaves in a large pieces. Dress with another 125ml of vinaigrette and taste. Adjust seasoning as needed, adding salt, vinaigrette, and/or the macerating vinegar to taste. Toss, taste again, and serve.

Refrigerate leftovers, covered, for up to one night.

Torn Croutons

recipe from Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat

*you only need HALF this recipe for the above Summer Panzanella recipe.

450g loaf day-old country or sourdough bread
75ml extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C. For more tooth-friendly croutons, remove the crusts from the bread, then cut the loaf into 2.5cm-thick slices. Cut each slice into 2.5cm-wide strips. Working over a large bowl, tear each strip into 2.5cm-size pieces. Alternatively, you can just tear croutons directly off the loaf, as long as you get somewhat evenly sized pieces.

Toss the croutons with the olive oil to coat them evenly, then spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Use a second sheet as needed to prevent crowding, which will entrap steam and keep the croutons from browning.

Toast the croutons for about 18 to 22 minutes, checking them after 8 minutes. Rotate the pans, switch their oven positions, and use a metal spatular to turn and rotate the croutons so that they brown evenly. Once they begin to brown, check them every few minutes, continuing to turn and rotate. Some croutons might be done when others still need a few more minutes of baking, so remove them from the tray and let the rest finish cooking. Bake the croutons until they’re golden brown and crunchy on the outside, with just a tiny bit of chew on the inside.

Taste a crouton and adjust the seasoning with a light sprinkling of salt if needed.

When done, let the croutons cool in a single layer on the baking sheet. Use immediately or keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To refresh stale croutons, bake for 3 to 4 minutes at 200C.

Tomato Vinaigrette

recipe from Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat

*you need DOUBLE this recipe for the above Summer Panzanella recipe.

2 tablespoons diced shallots
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
1 large or two small very ripe tomatoes (about 225g)
4 basil leaves, torn into large pieces
55ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove

In a small bowl or jar, let the shallot sit in the vinegars for about 15 minutes to macerate, to soften the harshness of the shallot.

Halve the tomato crosswise. Grate on the largest hole of a box grater and discard the skin. You should be left with 100g of grated tomato. Add it to the shallot. Add the basil leaves, olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt. Smash the garlic against the workshop with the palm of your hand and add to the dressing. Shake or stir to combine. Taste with a crouton or slice of tomato and adjust salt and acid as needed. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, and remove the garlic before using.

Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.


  1. This actually looks good! I never want to make a salad haha but I promise I will attempt to make this when I next have people over �� good work, love reading this blog!

    1. You should make this for us for that dinner you owe us ;) hehe

  2. The salad looks amazing!!
    My favourite thing to make in summer is a pavlova with all summer fruits. It just reminds me of holidays & christmas ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Thanks Mari! You can't go past a summer pav!! soooo good :) x

  3. Summer pudding for Christmas!!! Love your work Dan!!!! Xxxx

    1. Summer pudding is so fresh for summer, I haven't made one in YEARS but now you have me craving one!! mmmm I think we need a bunch plan and this for dessert! x

  4. Definitely garlic prawns on the barbie with lemon and parsley, yummmmmm! Or actually anything on the barbie with a cold glass of sparkling ✨ ��

    1. I agree! anything on the barbie with a cold sparkling drink has summer all over it! x

  5. Salad looks delish! Will need to try this one!!

    My favourite thing to cook in Summer is prosecco jelly.
    Gelatinous boozy fruit . . . Mmmmmmm ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹

    1. I do love your prosecco jelly (without the mint bits haha)! maybe you'll have to do a guest post and share it here?? x

  6. That salad looks delish Dan! My favourite thing to cook (and eat) is my mum’s Atlantic salmon and soba noodle salad. It tastes incredible and is a little bit nostalgic too. Xxx

    1. That noodle salad sounds so delicious! I would love to eat some of that now :) Summer and Christmas is such a nostalgic time, especially for food I think x

  7. I love summer because of the delish stone fruit that becomes available ๐Ÿ˜‹ a fav dish to make is Prawn and Nectarine salad, never thought I would like a dish that wasn’t a dessert and had fruit in it! But this is delish!!

    1. I LOVE stoned fruit! Peaches and nectarines are my favourite! Don't think I've had them in a non-dessert salad so will have to give this a go and chase you down for the recipe :)

  8. Thanks for the recipe,these types of recipes are perfect for this seasons.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! They really are - this hot weather, I just want to eat salads :)


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