This tomato and bread salad is winterized with roasted brussels sprouts. 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.
By Bria Helgerson
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 February.
- 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 juice.
- Easy as that. Serve room temperature, or with the tomatoes hot, it is delicious either way.
Bria Helgerson is a Chicago based food blogger and pastry school student. Lover of all things sweet and savory, she cooks, bakes, and blogs as she navigates her culinary life at her website These Peas Are Hollow.