Winter Kale Panzanella

January 31, 2018

Hey, remember the drop biscuits from my last post?  They make another appearance here, as the croutons in this “panzanella.” Now, I thought I was being brilliantly lazy, but it turns out biscuit croutons are totally a thing.  So awesome, I’m not the only person who feels this way!

This may be the most hippie/hipster thing I’ve ever posted, but you know what, I’m not even upset.  I happen to really enjoy eating kale, and raw massaged kale is … I dunno folks, it’s pretty amazing stuff.  But I am totally not offended if you disagree with my love of kale.  If you don’t like it that’s more for me!

As always, feel free to customize your salad.  Kale salads AND panzanella salads are both salads that can have nearly endless variety to them, so feel free to play! I’ll be talking about what you see in the photo, but seriously, you do you.

The goods:

butternut squash, peeled, seeds scraped out, and diced (or buy the precut stuff at the store; I totally would if I were just cooking for myself)

brussels sprouts, ends trimmed

kale, de-stemmed and rough chopped

shallots, thinly sliced

pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

almonds (if you can get your hands on whole peeled raw almonds, that’s better here, but slivered & blanched are also fine)

lemon juice

olive oil

salt, pepper, garlic powder

dressing (This would be great with caesar or creamy italian, I think, but I made a maple-tahini dressing.  Blend maple syrup, tahini, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil.)

biscuits, cooked. A little stale is just fine.

The method:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

First, massage your kale.  No, I’m not kidding.  Get all your kale in a bowl (or two, if necessary), drizzle on some lemon juice, olive oil, and a teensy bit of salt and pepper, and just start squishing it around.  The bruising that the leaves are getting from your hands is tenderizing them and helping the leaves absorb some flavor.  Massage your leaves until they get soft and glossy.  Yes, your hands will be a mess.  Go wash them. Now set aside your nice relaxed kale and work on the things you’re going to roast.

Toss your butternut squash and your brussels sprouts (separately or together) with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Put them on sheet pans and roast for 30 minutes or until fork-tender (and if your sprouts get dark and caramelized, well, all the better).

Toss your pumpkin seeds and almonds onto another sheet pan and roast for ten minutes or until they just start to smell nutty.  Keep an eye on them; they go from amazing to BURNED awfully fast.

Make your biscuit croutons.  Tear your biscuits into bite-sized pieces, toss with a little olive oil, and bake until crunchy, maybe 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t burn these either, you’re really just drying them out.

Cool all those things down.

Toss everything together (kale, shallots, squash, sprouts, almonds, pepitas, croutons) with the dressing until everything is just barely coated.  Eat immediately before the croutons have a chance to get soggy.

Enjoy!

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