Over the summer I became slightly obsessed with Panzanella salad. The glorious combination of soft sweet tomatoes, crispy toasted pieces of bread, the herby refreshment of basil, and the comfort of garlic all summed up to a perfect meal for me throughout the season. However now, as summer fades into the chilly crispness of fall, the beauty of the tomatoes is fading with it, and I have been left with the dreadful idea that my lovely salad won't be enjoyed again until next summer. And then, as though the rays of the sun were emitting from behind the clouds again after a heavy rainstorm, I received a reminder email from the Food buzz community reminding me enter another contest that they have been running, prize is flight and accommodations in San Francisco for their food blogger conference. The rules of the contest? Use Nature's Pride bread in a recipe. All of a sudden- it dawned on me- what about a fall inspired Panzanella salad? Bread salad with all sorts of great fall flavor?
Though I was too late to take advantage of Nature's Pride sending me a loaf of bread, I decided to run to my nearest grocery store and pick it up myself. Back home I got to work on what I hoped would make a good back up to my beloved summer treat, and what would hopefully get me to San Fran.
Fall Inspired Panzanella Salad
1 large beet, cut into 1/4 inch rounds and then sliced into bite size pieces
1 large carrot, cut into bite size pieces
12 Brussels sprouts, quartered
7 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1 tbsp dried herbs-Italian Blend
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
6 slices Natures Pride Multi grain bread, cut into bite size pieces
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Juice of 2 lemons
1 1/2 tsp honey
1/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata
Pre heat oven to 425 degrees. Place the cut vegetables on a rectangular cookie sheet, lined with tinfoil. Sprinkle garlic, dried herbs, pepper flakes, salt and pepper over the top and toss. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until all pieces are coated. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots and the beets are cooked through.
Place the bread pieces in a plastic bag, toss with the remaining ingredients. Spread the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet, bake at 425 until the bread is brown and toasted, about 8- 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine parsley, lemon juice, honey and a pinch of salt. Using a wire whisk, combine the ingredients as you're adding the olive oil (approximately 2 tbsp). The dressing will become creamier looking as the oil incorporates. Taste frequently until the tang of the lemon is no longer over powering. Set aside.
When the vegetables are done cooking, place them in a large bowl and set aside to cool slightly. Add the croutons when they are done toasting. Add the ricotta salata and then toss with the dressing.
As a side dish, this serves 4-6
I loved how all of the flavors and textures combined in this, definitely reminiscent of the summer time Panzanella Salad, but with the roasted root vegetables comes a deeper, richer flavor. The fresh, citrus dressing brought back the images of summer, and even gave a certain crispness to the vegetables. The bread, as it was meant to, added a satisfying crunch to the soft vegetables and a heartiness to the dish.