Panzanella is one of my favorite summertime salads, so I thought why not make a fall version using some stuffing-esque ingredients. Instead of juicy tomatoes, I sautéed some mushrooms and added tangy dried cranberries. Instead of sweet basil, I used woodsy sage. I normally toss pine nuts in my panzanella, but hazelnuts have been my nut of choice this fall, so I toasted those up instead.
I tossed it all with grilled bread and a tangy vinaigrette and served it along side some grilled salmon. Jack’s conclusion (as we devoured the whole bowl) was “well it’s not stuffing, and it’s not panzanella… but it’s somewhere in the middle and it’s really good.”
serves 3-4, as a side dish
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
splash of maple syrup
1 shallot, chopped
red pepper flakes (optional)
all other ingredients:
partial loaf (about 6 slices) ciabatta bread, cubed
1 garlic clove (use 1/2 for rubbing the toasted bread, 1/2 for the mushrooms)
1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms
splash of champagne vinegar (for the mushrooms)
1/2 bunch kale (6-8 leaves)
1/4 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup finely chopped sage
1/4 cup dried cranberries
salt, pepper, as needed
Whisk together dressing ingredients. Set aside.
Grill or toast the bread slices (I use a grill pan). Drizzle the slices with a little olive oil, grill on each side for a couple of minutes. You could also cook them under the broiler in your oven. Once the bread is done, while it’s still warm, rub it with a half of a garlic piece (the cut side). Chop the bread into 1-inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
Cook the mushrooms. In a medium skillet, heat a bit of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt. Let them cook down until they begin to soften. After about 10 minutes or so when the mushrooms are nicely browned and soft, add the garlic and stir to incorporate. Cook a couple more minutes and add a splash of champagne vinegar (or white wine), to deglaze the pan. Let the mushrooms cook for a minute longer and remove from heat. Add mushrooms to the bowl with the bread.
Cook the kale. Drizzle the kale leaves with a little oil and salt. I cooked mine in the oven under the broiler for about 5 minutes until it’s wilted down and the edges were a little bit crispy, and then I chopped it. (alternatively, you could cook the kale in the same pan as the mushrooms… add (chopped) kale to the pan during the last 4-5 or so minutes and cook until it’s wilted down.
Place the kale and the remainder of the ingredients into the large bowl with the bread cubes. Add the dressing and toss. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve at room temp. Can be made up to about 30 minutes before serving.