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Winter Panzanella

  • Winter Panzanella
Source: Michael Chiarello on Food Network
Serves: 6 servings as first course or side dish, or 4 as main course
Time: 1 hr 25 min

    For the croutons:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 cups day-old bread, crust removed, cubed
  • 16 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    For the salad:
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Gray salt
  • 4 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash (1/2-inch dice)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, then quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
    Method:
  • preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • melt the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat and cook until it foams
  • add the garlic and thyme, and immediately add the bread cubes; toss to coat well
  • Add most of the grated cheese and stir
  • transfer bread to a baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and salt and pepper and gently toss again while still warm to melt the cheese
  • bake stirring once or twice, until the croutons are crisp and lightly colored on the outside but still soft within, about 10 to 15 minutes; Set aside and let cool
  • Soak the sliced onion in the sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt for about 15 minutes; set aside
  • toss the squash with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sage, salt, and pepper
  • arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until the squash is tender and lightly caramelized, about 15 to minutes; let cool
  • bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the quartered Brussels sprouts and cook until tender but retain a touch of crispness, about 1 1/2 minutes, and drain
  • Into the reserved red onions and vinegar, whisk in remaining 1/2 cup olive oil; season with pepper
  • in a large bowl combine the roasted squash, croutons, and Brussels sprouts; add the vinaigrette and toss; add the parsley leaves and toss again
  • taste and adjust the seasoning; garnish with grated Parmesan and serve immediately
  • chef note: "Soaking the onion briefly in sherry vinegar—sometimes called blooming the onion--mellows the raw onion taste"