One of my favorite things about cooking is the pure magic that happens when you take a few simple ingredients and turn it into something spectacular. No fancy ingredients and no complicated techniques, just real, fresh food. That's what good food is to me.
Spring is a wonderful time to celebrate these types of dishes and ingredients. After a long winter, the markets are bursting with vibrant produce that can make any meal a knockout. Those beautiful colors and flavors are the inspiration for this dish, a riff on the classic panzanella salad.
Traditional panzanella is a Tuscan salad featuring stale bread* tossed with fresh, juicy tomatoes and is typically served in the summer when tomatoes reach their peak freshness. A basic dressing consisting of vinegar and olive oil helps soften the bread and bring the entire dish together.
This version takes the panzanella concept but makes it appropriate for Spring by featuring sweet and tender asparagus, spicy radishes and fresh chives. A good quality sourdough bread gives this salad an extra layer of flavor all tossed together with a bright white wine vinegar and olive oil dressing.
This Spring Sourdough Panzanella also is also incredibly simple to prepare and is wonderful for large gatherings or simple dinners at home. You can even get creative and serve it for breakfast with a soft-boiled egg.
I hope you enjoy this wonderful dish and it inspires you with all of its flavors of Spring. And if you try this recipe don't forget to leave me a comment below with your thoughts or tag your photos with #wellnessbykristen on social media!
Spring Sourdough Panzanella
Time: 35 Minutes
For the SALAD
6 cups sourdough bread, cut or torn into 1-inch cubes*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound asparagus
1 cup thinly sliced radishes (about 1 bunch)
1 cup radicchio, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped chives, cut into 2 inch pieces
Pinch sea salt
For the DRESSING
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place sourdough cubes on a baking tray and toast until dry, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Once cooled, place the bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside. Trim the tough ends of the asparagus and then cut the asparagus into 2 inch pieces. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Place on the baking tray and roast for 10-15 minutes. Let cool slightly before tossing with the bread cubes.
3. Add the sliced radishes, radicchio and chives into the bowl and set aside while you prepare the dressing.
4. To prepare the dressing, place all ingredients in a small jar or bowl and shake or whisk until well combined and thickened.
5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine. Garnish with any remaining chopped chives and serve immediately.
*Traditionally, panzanella calls for stale bread that has been around for a few days but drying it out in an oven is most commonly the method I use to make it.