So you know panzanella — once you figure out how to pronounce it, it’s really fun to say. Panzanellaaaaa. It’s that delicious bread salad we make in the summer, with garlic, tons of tomatoes and sweet onions and cucumbers, laced with tons more basil, great red wine vinegar and fruity olive oil. It’s a joy of a summer salad for those few of us anymore who aren’t avoiding carbs — and for the rest, we sneak a bite or make it our treat for the week.
Well here is panzanella in the middle of winter: What gives? This one is also delish — crusty bread folded into cubes of roasted red beets, golden butternut and bright green Lacinato kale — the soft kale with an almost creamy texture. Douse this in a wintery maple mustard vinaigrette and top it with smoked mozzarella and you won’t miss the summer version at all — not yet anyway. Danielle demoed this in January 2015 at Brookside and at US Botanic Garden.
2 C of 1-inch cubes crusty sourdough, a day old (2 large, thick slices)
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb purple beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 C Lacinato kale, ribs stripped, leaves washed and sliced into strips
½ C red onion, diced
1 apple, cored and cut into cubes (Honey Crisp, Braeburn, Fuji, Kiku, or tart if you prefer)
10 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into small cubes (can substitute crumbled blue cheese)
4 T balsamic vinegar
2 t maple syrup
2 t grainy Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ C olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the beet cubes with a small amount of olive oil, spread them on a baking sheet and roast until just tender, 30-40 minutes. Do the same for the butternut cubes, putting them in another roasting pan and cook until tender but not about to fall apart, about 20-25 minutes.
In a large non-stick sauté pan, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and add the bread cubes. Sauté, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Slice the kale and chop the onion and set both in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and mustard. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk to emulsify. Add about half the dressing to the kale and onion, mix well. When the beets, butternut and bread cubes have cooled slightly, add them to the kale and onion. Toss again to coat everything, adding a little more dressing as needed. Just before serving, add apples and mozzarella. Serves 4-6.