Friday, April 2, 2010

Autumn Panzanella

I know it's not autumn but once you try this salad you won't care that it's not season appropriate! (Well who does care when the food is good?) I'd never had panzanella (bread salad) before trying this recipe. The idea of always sounded kind of strange to me, plus I hate soggy bread so I didn't like the idea of putting dressing on a bread. But! How things changed once I tried this recipe. It's now one of my favourite meals! I'm so in love with the dressing - it tastes like stuffing with thyme, herbes de provence, sage and garlic. I love the acidity of the lemon juice and cider vinegar. I love the bits of roasted sweet potatoes and onions, chopped tomatoes and chickpeas. The original recipe calls for Parmesan cheese which I tried the first time but I think it's just as good without so I don't usually add it.

Happy early Easter! At the request of my mom, I'm going to attempt making hot cross buns for the first time. If you have a good recipe, please share!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Broccoli Slaw
French Pasta Salad
Mediterranean Pepper Salad
Portabello Salad with Mustard Dressing

Autumn Panzanella
Adapted from Phoo-D

Serves 4 as a main course or 8-10 as a side salad

Be sure to allow the finished dish to sit for an hour before serving. This is necessary for the flavors to fully develop, otherwise the bread will not have time to absorb the dressing and may taste rather bland.

10 cups cubed whole wheat bread (cut into 1" pieces) (Ashley note: I use whole wheat baguettes usually but use what you like.)
1 cup diced sweet potato (about 1 medium)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2" wedges
2 cups diced fresh tomato (or a 14oz high quality can, drained)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 1/2 cups chickpeas, cooked

1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon herbes de provence

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the middle. Line a large rimmed baking pan with foil, and evenly spread the bread, sweet potato, and onion across the sheet. Drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil over the baking pan, and then toss all ingredients so they are evenly coated with oil. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring the contents occasionally, until they are evenly toasted and the vegetables are soft.

Meanwhile, assemble the dressing. Place olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, sage, thyme, vinegar, salt, pepper, and herbes de provence in a blender. Blend in quick five second bursts, until the garlic is emulsified and the ingredients are well combined.

Once the bread and vegetables are toasted, place them in a large bowl along with the diced tomatoes, grated Parmesan (optional), chickpeas, and dressing. Gently toss all ingredients until they are well combined and the bread is evenly coated with dressing.

Cover the salad, and let it sit at room temperature for an hour, which will give the bread time to absorb the flavors of the salad. Once the flavors have melded together nicely, taste the salad to see if it needs any additional salt, pepper, or apple cider vinegar. Adjust seasonings to your taste, and serve.


Joanne said...

I am a total addict of autumn flavors as well. I try to eat them year-round. As often as possible. Plus do sweet potatoes ever go out of season? I think not.

This salad looks delicious! As for hot cross buns, I saw some good ones over at Simply Recipes the other day and also at Living In The Kitchen With Puppies. You might want to check those out!

Johanna GGG said...

but you are wrong - it is autumn - well down under it is so that recipe looks delicious - I only made my first panzanella recently and loved it but I enjoy it best with a little give remaining in the bread

good luck with hot cross buns - probably too late but the recipe I love is - I have used it for a few years and baked them yesterday - they are so good home made

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Dressing for dinner? Sounds odd, but I'd be willing to try it. I'm excited to hear about your hot cross buns. I've never had any that weren't nasty (but they were all store bought, so that makes sense).

Happy Easter!

Anonymous said...

I read a recipe for panzanella this morning and thought it sounded strange and unappetizing. However, it seems to have converted you, so I may give it a try.
thanks for posting!

Chef Aimee said...

I love bread salad and can eat it year round! I am so glad you published this recipe! This would actually go so well with any kind of barbecued red meat!!!

kickpleat said...

I've never had bread salad before but I always thought it had to be covered in tomatoes and basil. I like this difference!

Ricki said...

Always wanted to try this! Autumn or not, it sounds delicious.

Chef Fresco said...

I don't like soggy bread either, and therefore have never tried panzanella. I'm intrigued now though since you say it's like stuffing. Yum!

Phoo-D said...

I'm so glad that you enjoy this recipe! The addition of chickpeas is a great way to make it a more balanced 'meal'. Looks lovely!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

I love it when I discover through other blogs such simple recipes with ingredients I have on hand but that sound amazing still. It's autumn in the southern hemisphere - I think that makes the title still appropriate =p.

maya said...

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i really love your page!!


Laura said...

I adore your blog, so happy to have found it and can't wait to try out some of the recipies, thanks you!! x

eatme_delicious said...

Laura: Aw thank you so much! :) Hope you enjoy the recipes you try.