If you're looking for more ways to incorporate bread into your diet, panzanella is a great place to start.
Ha! If only I had that problem. In my household it's more like, 'Do you find yourself bringing home every gorgeous loaf of french bread that makes eyes at you? Are you ashamed when you discover you've eaten 3/4 of your baguette in one sitting, slicing little bread coins one after the other and slathering each with butter and sea salt? You had to, right, because tomorrow it will be dry and craggy?' If you're silently nodding your head, then panzanella is your new best friend. It turns your bread habit into a virtuous one. It turns that bread into salad. I understand that in order to be in possession of day-old bread for panzanella you're still going to have to stop yourself from eating fresh bread. No easy feat. But the promise of panzanella (added bonus: really fun to say) is better motivation than scolding yourself for downing too many refined carbs.
My favorite panzanellas are the classic kind full of tomatoes, cukes, and other summery goodness. But seeing as we're six months away from July in every direction, and my devotion to bread intensifies in due proportion to dropping temperatures, a winter edition was in order.
After the bread and a nice, sharp vinaigrette for said bread to sop up, there are no rules. I chose bitter greens, lemony artichokes, and buttery walnuts partly because they look pretty together but mostly because it's what I had on hand. And next time I'll do the same.
Winter Panzanella + Walnut Vinaigrette
Makes ~1 cup
- 1/4 unsalted walnuts, toasted
- 1 large clove garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt + Pepper
- Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic, about 4 minutes
- In a food processor, pulse walnuts and garlic until finely ground but not a paste
- Whisk together walnut-garlic mixture, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper
- Add olive oil in a steady stream while whisking to incorporate
- For best results, make 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to develop; will keep in fridge up 5 days
- 1/2 loaf day old crusty bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 3-4 cups)
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 heads radicchio (also called treviso or chicory)
- 2 heads Belgian endive
- 1 eight oz. jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped in quarters
- Handful parsley leaves
- Heat oil In a large skillet toast over medium heat for about one minute
- Add bread cubes and salt
- Toast bread cubes turning frequently until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes; if things begin to get smoky, reduce heat to low
- Remove from heat and let bread cool
- Tear (or chop) radicchio and Belgian endive leaves into small pieces
- Combine all panzanella ingredients and dress with walnut viniagrette; serve immediately or allow to sit for 15 minutes to allow bread to sop up dressing