As you are reading this, I am frolicking (or tango-ing) through the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Which is something that I never ever thought I would ever say (write).
But I am, and I’m hoping it’s awesome. (I’m sure it will be.) The Paris of South America? Umm, check. And hopefully next week I can share some amazing photos/stories with you. I don’t speak Spanish, and I don’t eat meat, but I drink Malbec (my favorite wine), so I am absolutely positive that I will have some great stories to share.
But, since I am writing this post in future-tense, I am still showing a loyalty to all things American and will dutifully continue pre-scheduling posts and continue my Thanksgiving 2013 menu line-up.
This panzanella was a hodge podge recipe. There’s a component of a sweet potato hash here from Williams-Sonoma, but I thought I would put a salad-ish twist on it by converting it into a nice, hearty panzanella. Here’s the deal: this is great as a panzanella, but I will warn you. You have to handle the sweet potatoes with a gentle hand, as they will break apart a bit if you are too rough. Actually, though, in all honesty, I thought the combination of soft sweet potato and lightly toasted bread was a great contrast in textures, and I think I may prefer it. And the best part? This salad has a ton of options. If you aren’t a sweet potato fan, just substitute your favorite cooked squash here. And, even though I don’t like 2-day recipes, it really does save time if you bake the sweet potatoes the night before.
This is definitely a festive-in-your-face-Happy-Thanksgiving-panzanella salad (actually, with a few toasted nuts in here for added protein, this could be a great main course…well, at least for me…because I like this kind of food over big heavy meals.)
Life is good. Life is very very good.
Sweet Potato Panzanella
Servings: about 4-6
4 cups whole grain bread, cubed and lightly toasted (I used a baguette that I sliced into cubes and toasted in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or so)
3 medium sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3-4 green onions, sliced
1 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3-4 cups fresh spinach leaves (I used Earthbound Farm.)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the sweet potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for about 50 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature (or until cool enough to handle). At this point, you need to chill the sweet potatoes so that they become firm. Refrigerate until this happens-a few hours or preferably overnight.
3. Once the sweet potatoes have chilled, peel them and cut them into 1-inch cubes.
4. In a saute pan over medium heat, melt two tablespoons of butter.
5. Add the apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple starts to caramelize and brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.
6. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan.
7. Add the green onions and cranberries and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute.
8. Add the cinnamon, allspice, and sweet potatoes and cook, stirring gently but frequently, for about 4 minutes.
9. Add the salt, stirring gently to combine. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool for about 10-15 minutes.
10. In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread, sweet potato mixture, and the spinach, tossing gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper (add in toasted nuts/some sort of cheese if you like). Enjoy.
Source: Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.