Market Eats – Winter Panzanella

Finally, a March thaw! Between the pandemic and the weather we had this winter, this feels long overdue. I hope you all have a chance to get out and enjoy the warmth and sunshine.

Weather like this has me dreaming of summer at the market – tomatoes, berries, sweet corn, cucumbers, fresh herbs. One of my favorite ways to eat summer veggies is in a simple salad with homemade dressing. For now, this Panzanella with winter veggies will have to do.

Panzanella is a Tuscan salad, that usually consists of day-old, soaked bread, onions and tomatoes. This recipe puts a nice spin on it by using vegetables that are seasonal for March in Upstate New York.

Winter Panzanella – Food 52

Ingredients:

  • Salad:
  • 6 cups 1-inch cubes good sourdough, day old
  • 2 ½ cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (about ½ squash)
  • 1 large beet, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups very thinly sliced kale
  • ½ cup finely diced red onion (substitute shallot if you can’t find red onion)
  • 1 crisp tart apple, cored and cut into cubes
  • 10 oz smoked mozzarella, cut into ½-inch cubes (can substitute bleu cheese if preferred)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Maple Mustard Vinigarette:
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. grainy mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. minced garlic (can add more if you prefer)
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat your over to 425 degrees F. Toss the beat cubes with a small amount of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Spread them on a baking pan and toss them in the oven. Roast until just tender, about 40 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, toss the butternut cubes with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them in another pan and roast alongside the beets until tender, but not about to fall apart, about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Take the butternut squash and beets out of the over as they are finished and set aside to allow them to cool for a while.
  4. In a very large sauté pan, heat about 2 Tbsp. olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Toss in the bread cubes and toss them around. Cook, tossing frequently, until they become golden browned, 10ish minutes. Take off the heat and set aside.
  5. At this point, slice the kale and the red onion and put them in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients except the olive oil. Then, gradually whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Pour about half of the dressing in with the kale and onion and toss to coat.
  6. Once the bread, butternut squash, and beets are lightly warm, but not hot, toss them with the kale and onion in the bowl. Add the rest of the dressing and toss more. Finally, add the cheese and apple pieces (and a few sliced sage leaves if you wish) and toss thoroughly until everything is well combined. If you like your salad with more dressing, feel free to double the dressing amount.
  7. Serve immediately, or allow to sit for about a half hour at room temperature before serving to allow the bread to soften and the flavors to mingle.

Shopping List:

  • Sourdough Bread
  • Butternut Squash
  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Red onion or shallot
  • Apple
  • Maple Syrup
  • Grainy Mustard (Taste NY store)
Photo Credit: Food 52