Saturday, January 12, 2013

Brussels Sprout Panzanella

If these pictures are conjuring thoughts of summer, I don't blame you. It was almost 60 degrees today here in Chicago. In the middle of January. 60 degrees. In January. In Chicago. Ugh.

As I stood outside in my t-shirt taking pictures, I almost convinced myself that I was enjoying the warm streak of days we've been having. Unfortunately cold reality hit me as soon as I went back inside and was confronted with the sight of my sad, shriveled up christmas tree. Don't worry I finally took it down today, and at only the 12th of january, I think its a new record. Last year I put it off until almost february. Maybe I shouldn't have admitted that.

I quickly remembered that I have a deep-rooted bitterness that instead of bundling up to go cross country skiing, or cozying up in a dark bar while the snowflakes fall outside, I am outside without a damn coat on (or sleeves for that matter). You can take the girl out of Minnesota...well you know the rest.

While panzanella may be a summer staple for anyone who loves a good tomato, its just not the same in the winter when tomatoes have a tendency to taste like cardboard. With a few twists, a hot pan, and some juicy cherry tomatoes, you can have a bright and healthful panzanella salad even in the dark, mind-numbingly cold month of January. Ha. I wish. 

This tomato and bread salad is winterized with roasted brussels sprouts, done Dad's way. If you have never added anchovy (or fish sauce) and red pepper flakes to your veggies before roasting, stop everything you are doing and try it now. It is that good.

Winter Brussels Sprouts Panzanella
serves 6 as a small starter salad, 4 as a larger side or main dish. You can bulk it up for a main meal with some diced chicken, or a fried egg.

4 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed, outer leaves discarded, then quartered (I started with about 4-5 cups, after they were trimmed and roasted, I had a little less than 3 cups, exact measurements in this recipe are not necessary)
20 cherry tomatoes
4 cups crusty bread, cut into bite sized cubes (I used a ciabatta bread, but french bread or sourdough would work just as well)
6 tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 tbl balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 oz (approximately) shaved parmigiano reggiano for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Mix together 2 tbl olive oil, fish sauce, and red pepper flakes, and toss with brussels sprouts to coat evenly. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet (I line mine with my silpat) and season liberally with salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how big your sprouts are, until tender in the middle, and crispy on the outside. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat another two tablespoons of olive oil (or enough to just cover the bottom of your pan) over high heat. Add the cubed bread, and toss quickly to coat in the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, tossing frequently just until bread begins to brown and gets a bit crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Remove bread from pan and set aside.

Return pan to medium-high heat, and add a few more tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, just until garlic becomes fragrant. Add the tomatoes and saute for 4-5 minutes, shaking pan frequently to move tomatoes around, until the skin starts to blister and burst. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute, tossing with the tomatoes.

In a large bowl, combine the brussels sprouts, bread, and tomatoes (save any tomato/balsamic juice that is in your skillet to drizzle on top later). Add any more salt and pepper if needed, and divide salad among your plates. Top with shaved cheese, and a few spoonfuls of the leftover pan jus.

Easy as that. Serve room temperature, or with the tomatoes hot, it is delicious either way. 

1 comment:

Ayumi said...

The panzanella looks very good! I never eat brussel sprouts not because i don-t like them but they-re not so common in Peru. But the panzanella looks amazing and very easy to do so i-ll try it! Also, i thought it was so cool the tip you gave on adding some anchovy sauce on the veggies before roasting! Thanks for sharing :)

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