Fall Vegetable Panzanella Salad
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
- 6 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 aged sherry vinegar
- Sea salt
- 3 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 or thyme
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, then thinly sliced
- 2 thinly sliced apples, skin on
- 2 cups sliced Swiss chard or spinach
- Balsamic glaze, optional
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 10 minutes. Set aside.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add 1 ½ tbsp olive oil in the pan. Sauté the squash unit golden brown and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the Brussels spouts and apples, cook until soft. Set aside.
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 mixture, croutons, and Brussels sprouts. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Add the Swiss leaves and toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with grated Parmesan and serve immediately.