(WTNH) — Chef Heidi Lang makes a delicious panzanella salad; perfect for a side dish or a whole meal.
· 1 butternut squash, peeled and seeded
· 2 tablespoons canola or sunflower oil
· 6 slices cooked bacon crumbled
· 6 cups day old bread cut into one inch cubes
· 2-3 tablespoons garlic oil*
· 5-6 firm but ripe tomatoes seeded and diced (plum tomatoes are ideal), or cherry tomatoes sliced in half
· 2 ounces Parmesan shavings
· 2 ounces gruyere shavings
· 1/3 cup pinot grigio or champagne vinegar
· 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
· 1 teaspoon kosher salt
· ½-1 teaspoon black pepper
· 10-15 leaves of basil for garnish
1. Preheat heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut butternut squash into one-inch cubes and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
3. Toss with canola oil and season with kosher or sea salt.
4. Place in oven and roast 25-30 minutes until soft but not mushy. Remove from oven and set aside.
5. Place 3 cups of the bread cubes in bowl and mix with garlic oil (you may also use olive oil if you don’t have garlic oil on hand.) Bake cubes at 375 degrees for 5-7 minutes, until crisp but not brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
6. Add the butternut squash, all of the bread cubes (both toasted and untoasted), tomatoes, and both parmesan and gruyere cheese shavings to a large bowl. Mix together gently.
7. Add salt and pepper to vinegar in measuring cup and whisk well. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking vigorously until well blended.
8. Pour half of the vinaigrette over the salad and mix well. Add more vinaigrette according to your taste. (Place the remaining vinaigrette in a sealed container where it will last for at least a week.)
9. Let salad stand for 15-30 minutes to absorb the dressing, garnish with basil leaves, and serve. (Salad is best at room temperature.)