I have become obsessed with making a version of this vinegary warm bread concoction lately. The principle is the same every time – take slightly old bread, tear it into rough chunks, douse it in vinegar and a good pinch of salt, leave it for a bit, then drizzle over some oil and bake it alongside some other good things.
Last week I chopped up a tin of anchovies and used them (and their salty oil) to season the bread, baking the torn hunks with wedges of red onion and cherry tomatoes which popped and released their sweet juices into it too. I threw in a few greasy black olives for the final couple of minutes to warm through and finished the whole thing with basil, making it a bit like a warm panzanella. We ate it with a whole baked sea bass and lots of lemon and it felt as if summer might finally be here.
If there is one thing that is better than warm, tangy, soggy and crunchy in all the right places bread, it’s bread that has also had chicken fat dripping onto it while it cooks. Enter this week’s recipe. You’ll pack the vinegary bread into an oven dish with romano peppers and garlic, then sit chicken legs on top, their skins sprinkled with more vinegar, salt and dried oregano. Everything should sit tightly together in the dish – don’t worry about things not crisping, you’ll separate everything for a final crisp at the end.
The finished result is the kind of dish that’ll have everyone diving in to pick gnarly bits of bread and pepper off the side of the pan. I’m having it with a green salad dressed simply with lemon, and probably an unholy amount of aioli.