Winter Panzanella

IMG_3923

I picked up a “German Rye” from the recently opened Firebrand Breads in Oakland’s The Hive. While there I ogled the pastries, and left with a delicious miso dill salmon sandwich from the recently relocated Pal’s Takeaway.

In any case, I found myself with an excess of nicely crusty, slightly sour rye bread. Thinking of it on my way home, after advising a friend to roast all her vegetable sides for Thanksgiving, I decided to roast my own bread salad for dinner.

 

I started writing this out as an ingredient list and instructions like a standard recipe, but that’s not what this, or I am about. It’s a flexible, easy process, though I was particularly pleased with this combination of ingredients.

Preaheat the oven to 4oo F. Crush 3 large cloves garlic into more olive oil that you think you’ll need to coat your vegetables and bread. I used about 1/3 cup. I also added a couple of spoonfuls of homemade sauerkraut to the oil/garlic coating, to salt the mixture, and see if the roasted taste of the kraut added anything (it did). Cut several slices of bread into crouton sized cubes, add some sliced mushrooms and kale (the kale will shrink significantly) and toss with the olive oil mixture. It took quite a bit of tossing to get the oil to adhere to the bread, rather than just the kale/mushrooms. If bread doesn’t have a nice oil coating, add a bit more oil, then pour into a single layer in a sheet pan. Place in oven and check after 15 minutes. If bread is mostly brown, add a handful of walnuts to the pan. In your serving bowl, mix about 1/4 cup sauerkraut and and equal amount of grated cheese (I used an aged cheddar).  After about another 10 minutes, or until the bread looks a good degree of brown, turn the mixture into the serving bowl, mix with the cheese/kraut, and freshly ground pepper.

Consider a bacon variation. I added two 1/4″ slices from a frozen supermarket block of bacon, and I’m very happy I did.

 

Meatless Mondays: Kale salad with carrot ginger dressing

A healthy bowl.

I usually make something a bit more substantial even when going meatless, but this weekend was so full of meat, all I was craving today was salad. I hadn’t thought about this dressing for years until food52 issued a “Best Carrot Recipe” contest and it was the first thing to pop into my head. It’s a dressing that caught on in New York’s East Village, at Japanese-ish diners geared towards students. I was happy at any restaurant where it was a dressing choice, and am surprised it hasn’t caught on as one of the standard dressings, though I don’t think it would bottle well.
I had a bit of a recipe from from my New York years, but after my recent googling, it was lacking a couple of the key ingredients like shallots and, surprisingly, water (and perhaps had some extra garlic and sesame). Luckily, after trying the version Smitten Kitchen posted, even though I had my reservations as her reference was the heinously named newsletter GOOP by Gwyneth Paltrow which suggested accelerating bowel movements by drinking castor oil in the same post.  But it just sounded right. Though the restaurant version was most frequently some sort of lettuce, avocado, onion combination suggested in the other posts, I find that this dressing pairs perfectly with kale. It brings out the slight sweetness that’s usually in kale, particularly the Lacinato (dinosaur) kale I usually have growing in my backyard.

Dressing
2 carrots
1 American-sized shallot (largeish), or three halves small Asian shallots
2 inches ginger
2 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
1/4 cup neutral oil
2 tablespoons water

Peel and roughly chop carrots, shallots, and ginger. I usually peel ginger with a spoon–it is the fastest, least wasteful method I’ve learned. Then process carrots, shallots, and ginger in a food processor until very finely chopped. Add miso, scrape down, and run food processor again. Pour neutral oil in while blade is running, then add water until smoot, and desired consistency. It shouldn’t be liquid, pourable, but it shouldn’t be completely chunky either. You may need a little more than 2 T water. Add sesame oil and process briefly.

I like to serve with a simple salad of kale/cabbage salad. This particular salad is ~2/3 Dinosaur (Lacinato) kale, ~1/3 cabbage, garnished with sweet corn. Other delicious garnishes include fresh peas, sesame seeds, avocado, or pressed tofu.