I spent a lot of time this weekend working on a top-secret Christmas present project. The only thing I can say at the moment is that it involves looking through old recipes, something I rarely do. Re-reading old posts and old recipes, I remembered some favorites I’d long forgotten. This apple fennel panzanella is one of them. Panzanella is usually a late summer dish and a great way to use fresh garden tomatoes. Instead of the more traditional tomatoes and cucumbers, I use apples and fennel which are much more season-appropriate. The red and green also make a for a festive Holiday presentation.
Apple & Fennel Panzanella
1/2 lb. stale Ciabatta bread
1 Macintosh apple, thinly sliced
1/2 large fennel bulb (or 1 small one), thinly sliced
1 handful of salad greens*
small bunch chives, sniped into small pieces
1 tsp. poppy seeds
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 garlic cloves, finely minced
pinch of salt
Preheat the broiler. Being careful not to cut yourself, slice the bread into 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch cubes. Arrange them on a cookie sheet and pop them under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the completely dry out and begin to brown slightly. Keep your eye on the bread – it burns quickly.
In the meantime, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, garlic and salt. Toss the bread with the apple, fennel, greens, chives and poppy seeds, then drizzle with the dressing and give it a good toss, making sure everything is evenly coated. Serve in a nice big bowl.
Makes 4 side servings or 2 main servings.
*I used an â€œHerb Saladâ€ mix. You might want to add any fresh herbs youâ€™ve got in the fridge to this as well – basil, cilantro and dill work well.