Bacon and Avocado Panzanella

I really should have posted this before the massive thunderstorms but I feel that this is a salad that can be eaten at any time of year, not just when a heatwave hits. A salad? Where are the cakes? I know, I promise you cakes are coming but in the heat and stress of moving last week I decided this salad was the easiest thing to do and it also provided a simple meal for us in the middle of all the boxes. 

We are in the new house now. I love it. I love having an upstairs and a garden to look out on whilst I sit in the living room. I don't mind that there are still boxes everywhere because our kitchen has cupboards for everything. This gives me pure unbridled joy because in the flat we had one cupboard for food and two for plates/mugs/glasses and we had to buy extra shelves to everything else. I have 5 times the worktop space and I feel this gives me license to start making pastry every week because of all the space I have to roll it out. Simple things eh?

This salad contains pretty much all my favourite things...bacon, avocado, mozzarella, ciabatta, olive oil. I am in salad heaven. I had a bit of an aversion to too much green during the beginning of my pregnancy and this has helped sort that out. Perhaps I was faced with too many iceberg lettuce based salads and it put me off. This salad actually contains no salad leaves at all so I wasn't even sure if I should refer to it as salad...just to add to the confusion. 

In other news we had our 20 week scan last week and I can report that baby is doing very well, with no more scans now we shan't see it until labour day so now our focus is on getting things ready and building even more flatpack furniture for the nursery. I continue to grow on a daily basis and a diet fuelled by crumpets and other magical carbohydrates. I am enjoying it immensely.

Bacon and Avocado Panzenella
(adapted from Giorgio Locatelli's recipe in The Independent)

1 small loaf of ciabatta, left to go slightly stale for a day or two
1 small cucumber, sliced
1 large red onion, sliced
3 very ripe vine tomatoes, roughly quartered
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1-2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
12 basil leaves, roughly crushed 
5 slices of smoked bacon, cooked until just crispy
1 ripe avocado
1 ball of fresh mozzarella
Salt and Pepper
  1. Add the cucumber, red onion, tomato and bread to a large bowl. Add some salt and pepper and toss lightly with your hands.
  2. In a jug, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar and some salt and pepper. 
  3. Pour over the salad and bread and add the basil leaves. Stir and leave in the fridge whist you prepare the bacon. Note: The original recipe said to leave overnight but I wanted something quick and I also didn't want the bread to be too soggy, this way it still had a little bite.
  4. Once the bacon has cooked, leave it to one side and scoop out the avocado and cut into chunks. Tear the mozzarella up into pieces. Cut the bacon into squares of around 1 inch.
  5. Take the salad from the fridge and add in the bacon, avocado and mozzarella. Give it a good stir and then serve into bowls. 
We had this as a main between two very hungry people but it would be great as a side or a starter between 4 people.