Panzanella or bread salad is a traditionally Italian dish that normally celebrates the bounty of a summer garden: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and more. It is also a clever and tasty way to re-purpose stale bread. In the fall and winter it feels silly to make a summer type bread salad so I decided to winterize it. I used almost a whole baguette in this recipe but feel free to cut the bread down and add more veggies. This is not a hugely figure friendly dish as its base is basically fried bread, but it’s so good, to make myself feel better about all the yummy bread I normally serve the salad with roasted chicken breast or a simply cooked piece of fish.
I happened to have very small tender Brussels sprouts on the day I made this dish so I left them whole, but if I had “normal” size sprouts I would have cut them in half before roasting. Also be sure to cut your mushrooms down to bite size pieces if you have big guys, so they will cook about as fast as the sprouts.
Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Panzanella
For the bread salad
- About 1 baguette worth of stale bread cubed into half inch pieces
- 1 pint mushrooms
- 1 pint Brussels sprouts
- 1 medium red/purple onion diced
- Juice of half a lemon
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 1/3 cup good olive oil
- 2 tbsp truffle oil if you have it
- 1 clove of garlic grated
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
Start by heating a large pan with about quarter inch of olive oil over medium high heat on the stove. Toss in a single layer of the bread cubes season liberally with salt and pepper. Toast the cubes until golden brown, repeat until all your cubes are toasted and yummy. You might have to keep adding olive oil to your pan. If the crumbs that get left over in the pan start to burn clean them out before you and the next batch of bread cubes.
Toss the red onion into the warm bread cubes. Then set the bread aside while you make the dressing. For the dressing just mix everything together and adjust to taste.
Pour the dressing over the bread cubes and onions, stir gently. Let the salad marinate for at least 20-30 minutes, I just leave it sitting on the counter.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Put the cleaned sprouts and mushrooms onto large baking sheet. Give them a nice toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put them in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the outer leaves on the sprouts have begun to brown and the mushrooms have cooked well. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the veggies as they come out of the oven.
Toss the mushrooms and sprouts into the bread salad; they can still be hot from the oven. Taste the salad and add any of the following to taste: lemon juice, Parmesan, vinegar, oil, salt or pepper.
I served this salad with these lovely oven roasted chicken breasts and carrots. It was a great hearty and simple winter meal that everyone enjoyed. The stepdaughters were at first a little weirded out by the bread salad idea but they did enjoy the flavors after they got the concept.