Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Panzanella is a bread salad hailing from central Italy, and typically contains bread, tomatoes, herbs, oil, and vinegar. Since it requires no cooking, it's a perfect dish for summer. It's also a perfect dish for getting rid of leftovers, including stale bread and any vegetables you may have, any time of the year. This winter version of panzanella is far from traditional, but it is also wildly tasty.
I added a can of garbanzo beans to make a meal out of this, but you could also omit them completely and serve this as a side dish/bed for roasted or grilled chicken (the bread soaks up some of the chicken juices... drool).
1/2 medium butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
25 small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
1/3 lb stale bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp + 1/2 Tbsp + 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
handful of chopped fresh parsley
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp paprika
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss squash with 1/2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil, salt, and pepper (optional: add dried herbs such as thyme and/or sage). Toss brussels sprouts with 1/2 Tbsp oil, salt, and pepper. Spread squash out on half of a large baking sheet, and brussels sprouts on other half. (I like to combine these steps and reduce the dishwashing load by tossing the vegetables with oil directly on the baking sheet.) Roast for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and browned.
While vegetables are roasting, toss bread cubes with melted butter and either bake at 350 degrees F in the toaster oven for 10-15 minutes, or toast in a large pan over medium-low heat, tossing occasionally.
Heat a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add garbanzo beans, minced garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat the beans with the seasonings, and cook a few minutes, just until heated through.
Combine onions with sherry vinegar, some salt and pepper, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Again, I like to do this directly in a large mixing bowl where the rest of the ingredients will end up, but you can also use a separate bowl.
Add vegetables, bread, and garbanzo beans to a large mixing bowl. Pour dressing over mixture if it isn't already in the bowl. Add chopped parsley, and toss until all ingredients are evenly coated. Let the panzanella sit for a few minutes to soak up all the flavors before serving.