Panzanella is my favorite salad, but made with tomatoes. Since good tomatoes are hard to find in the winter, I created this winter version, using roasted butternut squash, apple and cranberries.—Julie Merriman, Cold Brook, New York
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Dash each salt and pepper
- 1 loaf sourdough bread (1 pound), cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons each minced fresh basil, cilantro and mint, divided
- 1 cup fresh arugula
- 1 medium apple, thinly sliced
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pitted Greek olives, sliced
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel
- APPLE DRESSING:
- 1/4 cup chopped peeled apple
- 2 tablespoons honey, divided
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon apple brandy or apple cider
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Place squash cubes in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and cool.
- In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon each basil, cilantro and mint. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
- Place the cooled squash, arugula, apple slices, onion, cranberries, olives, lime juice and peel, croutons and remaining herbs in a large bowl.
- In a small skillet, cook apple in 1 tablespoon each honey and oil over medium heat until apple is softened and caramelized, stirring often. Transfer to a blender.
- Add the vinegar, brandy, mustard, salt, pepper and remaining honey. Cover and process until pureed. While processing, gradually add remaining oil in a steady stream. Drizzle over salad; toss to coat. Yield: 14 servings (1 cup each).
Originally published as Winter Panzanella with Apple Dressing in Taste of Home Christmas Annual Annual 2012, p43
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