Mezze & Dolce

Light Mediterranean Meals Paired with Ample Dessert

Mezze: Winter Panzanella (Italian bread salad)

Good final

I’m a bit of a TV food competition junkie.  Several nights a week, my husband and I sit down to watch whatever we can get our hands on – Top Chef, Iron Chef, Chopped – switching to the Canadian versions when we’ve blown through the U.S.  We’ve even started speaking like  the judges’ – sticking up our noses and throwing around disparaging phrases like “one note” or “needs acid” like the best of them.

So when we first moved to California, we went on a pilgrimage to  one of my favorite contenders, Chef Michael Chiarello from the Next Iron Chef (Season 4).  A Napa-based chef, Chiarello uses high-quality and mostly local ingredients to create simple Italian masterpieces.  At his restaurant, Bottega, I fell in love.

This salad is adapted from Chiarello’s Casual Cooking and is a creative take on a traditional panzanella.  This one  uses the bounty of vegetables available now and is the best example of what happens when you don’t overthink a recipe – it’s just an easy assembly of fresh, simple ingredients.  I like to eat this salad as a meal, but also recommend it with our Potato Pear Soup or a soup of your choice.  –-jaime

Makes 6 as a side, 4 as a main

Ingredients

-Croutons-

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

6 cups de-crusted, cubed day-old bread (1/2 inch cubes)

Optional: 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

-Salad-

4 cups peeled butternut squash, 1/2 inch dice {around 2 small or 1 large, but I find small much easier to cut}

1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons sage

Salt & freshly ground pepper

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, thinly sliced lengthwise

1/2 red onion, sliced very thinly lengthwise

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar {recipe calls for sherry vinegar}

1/4 cup flat leaf Italian parsley

Directions

-Croutons-

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Melt butter in large skillet or pot over medium heat until foaming. Add bread cubes, toss until coated, remove from heat.

3.  Transfer to baking sheet. Add cheese and toss if desired.

4.  Bake, stirring once until crisp and lightly colored on the outside but still soft on the inside (about 15 minutes).  Let cool and store in airtight container.

-Salad-

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Toss squash with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Add sage, salt, & pepper and toss. Spread on baking sheet and bake until tender and lightly caramelized, about 30 mins. Let cool.

3.  In a small bowl, toss the onions with the vinegar and let it stand until the salad is ready to be dressed {end of the recipe}.  This mellows out the onions and eliminates the harshness of raw onion.

4.  Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts and cook for around 3 minutes or until tender but still slightly crisp.

5.  Mix squash, Brussels sprouts, and croutons in a large bowl.

6.  Whist the onions and vinegar with 1/2 c. oil, salt, & pepper and a little bit more sage if desired.  Toss with salad, add parsley, and serve.

 

Good Squash

Good onions

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One comment on “Mezze: Winter Panzanella (Italian bread salad)

  1. Pingback: M & D Cookbook Suggestions for Mom – Mother’s Day is Just Around the Corner! | Mezze & Dolce

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Information

This entry was posted on March 28, 2013 by in Mezze, Salads, Side Dishes and tagged , , .

About Jacque & Jaime

Jaime and Jacque are two gals who discovered a mutual passion for Mediterranean flavors and ingredients and never turned back. They started Mezze & Dolce to share this love, their recipes, and their inspirations with the world. Follow them at www.mezzeanddolce.com.

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