If you've been following my blog for awhile, you may know that one of my favourite things to make is panzanella - basically a salad of vegetables and crusty bread, tossed in a simple oil and vinegar dressing. I think panzanella is best in the summertime, when you can get fresh tomatoes and basil from your own garden, but the great thing about this dish is that it can be adapted so easily to each season.
My first panzanella recipe that I posted was this Roasted Summer Panzanella, made with corn, tomatoes, and summer squash. When the colder weather came around, I changed up the recipe by using root veggies and pumpernickel bread to make this Winter Panzanella that I loved.
Now that Spring is finally here, I couldn't wait to make another version of my favourite salad using some of the new produce that becomes available in springtime.
For the vegetables, I chose asparagus, radishes, and mini new red potatoes, along with the standard cherry tomatoes that I think are essential to a panzanella. For the bread, I wanted something with seeds, because they remind me of springtime and new growth, so I found a nice hearty loaf of sunflower seed rye bread that I toasted and broke into pieces.
I also like to change up the type of fresh herb that I put in my salad based on the season. In the summer, I always use fresh basil, and in the winter, I used sage. For my spring version, I decided to add some fresh dill, and I loved the way it brightened up the whole dish.
Finally, I topped off my salad with a big handful of alfalfa sprouts for some extra texture and substance (I added more sprouts after these pictures were taken and mixed them in so that they were spread throughout the salad).
I loved the way everything came together to create an such an interesting and flavourful meal! I thought each of the components went well with the others, and I liked to combine them in different ways with each bite!
And if you're not a fan of radishes, you should try roasting them - they lose some of that bite that can turn people off and instead take on a sweeter, more mellow flavour with a softer texture. I couldn't find any local radishes or asparagus yet when I made this, but I will definitely be making it again, and I bet it will taste even better once the local produce is available!
Inspired by my previous recipes for Roasted Summer Panzanella and Roasted Winter Panzanella
*Note: the amounts below are approximate amounts for 1 large serving. You can easily increase the amounts to serve more people. I roasted extra vegetables so that I could have leftovers to make another salad the next day - just add the bread and dressing separately when you want to eat it.
4 oz mini red potatoes, cut in half
4 oz radishes, cut in half if large
1/2 tsp dried oregano
~5 cherry or grape tomatoes
1 clove garlic, smashed
4-5 spears asparagus
1-2 thick slices of bread – I recommend a multigrain or sunflower seed loaf
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for roasting
2 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
1 tbsp fresh dill
Salt and pepper
Handful of sprouts (I used alfalfa sprouts)
Preheat oven to 400°.
Toss the potatoes and radishes with a drizzle of olive oil, the dried oregano, and some salt and pepper. Transfer to a large baking dish and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
Toss the tomatoes and garlic with a bit more olive oil, salt and pepper. Add to the pan with the potatoes and radishes. Roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, until potatoes and radishes are tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus by breaking off the woody ends and placing them on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add to the oven for the last 10 minutes of roasting time.
Toast the bread by adding the slices to the oven for the last 5-10 minutes of roasting time (I placed my bread on the same baking sheet with the asparagus).
When everything is done roasting, remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the remaining olive oil, vinegar, and dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with the sprouts.
Makes 1 serving.