Italian-style picnic loaf
Serves 4 | prep 50 mins | total time
- 2 peppers, quartered and deseeded (or use 2 ready roasted peppers from a jar, quartered and seeds removed)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little extra
- 1 medium aubergine, trimmed
- 1 small courgette, trimmed
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
- 1 x 400g Taste the Difference sourdough loaf
- 1 ball of mozzarella, drained and sliced
- a small handful of basil leaves, torn
- 25g black olives, stoned and sliced
- 1 medium tomato, sliced in rounds
Make at least 2 hours or up to a day ahead.
- If you're roasting your own peppers, put them skin-side up on an oiled baking tray under a hot grill and grill them for 15-20 minutes. As soon as their skin blisters and blackens, remove to a bowl and cover. Once cool, peel and set aside.
- Set a griddle pan over a medium heat. Put the balsamic vinegar into a small bowl, add half the chopped garlic and slowly whisk in 1 tablespoon olive oil; season.
- Cut the aubergine lengthways into 1cm thick slices. Brush on both sides with olive oil and griddle in batches for 3-4 minutes on each side, turning regularly, until tender. Transfer to a bowl, toss with the balsamic vinaigrette.
- Slice the courgette lengthways into ½cm-thick slices and toss in a bowl with the remaining garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil; mix well to coat. Lightly season and griddle in batches for 1½-2 minutes on each side until golden; set aside.
- Lay the red onion rings on a plate and lightly oil in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Lightly season and griddle on each side for about 2 minutes until softened; set aside. Alternatively, if you prefer, instead of griddling, you can roast the aubergine, courgette and red onion on oiled baking trays (in a single layer) in the oven at 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6 for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway.
- Slice your loaf in half horizontally – like a giant bun. Pull out most of the soft white bread until you have a thickly lined hollow loaf. (You can freeze the inner bread to make breadcrumbs for future dishes.)
- Layer the ingredients, seasoning lightly between each addition. Start with the cooked aubergine slices; then add the pepper quarters, sliced mozzarella, basil leaves and sliced olives. Top with the courgettes followed by the sliced tomato. Finally add the onions and cover with the lid of the loaf.
- Tightly wrap in clingfilm. If you're eating the loaf at home, cover with heavy, weighted chopping board and leave for 2 hours at room temperature. Otherwise, pack it for a picnic, using the other picnic foods to weigh it down. Slice and serve the loaf with plenty of napkins.