I’ve long favored roasting squash vegetables, something about roasting makes the vegetables sweeter tasting to me. The dry heat helps to caramelize the natural sugars of the vegetable giving an exceptional flavor.
Fall feasts of next week will be laden with butter, creams, and typical fare of bread choices. I’m going to suggest you skip the dinner rolls and dig into this show-stopping Panzanella salad. Panzanella is typically a Tuscan salad of soaked stale bread in dressing with tomatoes. However, since it is fall and squash is the superstar in the market – Delicata is the IT veggie in my opinion.
Delicata otherwise known as Bohemian squash is a mild squash similar to butternut with an edible rind. One that’s ready to eat usually is yellow or cream with green striations. You should be able to store them in a cool, dry place for about three months. Full of vitamin C, A and calcium this super squash is bone building, immune boosting and a perfect addition to a winter meal.
Surprise your guests this holiday and serve this autumn Panzanella.
Tip: Make the Midwest & Grassfed Garlic Focaccia then use rest for this Panzanella. We like the versatility and not wasting our hard efforts. Plus, the taste is fantastic!
Roasted Delicata & Apple Panzanella
Yield 6 servings
- 1 garlic focaccia loaf, recipe here cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 small delicata squash, washed, deseeded and cut into 1/4 inch sliced rings
- 2 gala apples, cored and quartered
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 sage leaves, chopped
- 4 ounces arugula
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- Goat cheese crumbles, optional
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 shallot minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Timing is everything to ensure it is warm when serving. Here is a quick overview of what the process will be:
- Focaccia cubes are toasted and ready.
- The Dijon vinaigrette is emulsified. (You can do both of these steps a day ahead!)
- Roast delicata squash.
- Prep apples to be put in the last 10 minutes with the squash.
- Toast pumpkin seeds, in the oven last 5 minutes of the squash and apples.
- After putting the apples in the oven, you will then soak the bread with the Dijon vinaigrette.
Begin by tossing five cups of garlic focaccia cubes in a large bowl with 1/4 cup olive oil. Spread cubes onto a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkled lightly with salt. Toast in oven for 20 minutes, tossing a couple of times while in the oven. Remove and let cool. (These can be made ahead and stored for one to two days.)
Make the Dijon Vinaigrette:
In a bowl or food processor/blender blend together the dijon mustard and red wine vinegar, add the shallot, salt, and pepper to taste and blend while slowly incorporating the oil until it is emulsified. Set aside.
To roast the squash and apples raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Reuse the same parchment lined pan from before and place squash rings on it. Drizzle with a couple of tablespoons olive oil and season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes turning halfway during cooking time.
Core and quarter two apples place in a bowl. Toss with two tablespoons olive oil, two teaspoons sugar and chopped sage. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast alongside the squash for the last 10 minutes till apples are softened.
Toast three tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds on an aluminum foil sheet in the same oven for five minutes.
Take out the pumpkin seeds and set aside. Turn off oven and keep squash and apples in the oven to stay warm until ready to incorporate.
Begin to make the Panzanella. Place 5 cups of the toasted cubes of garlic focaccia in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the Dijon vinaigrette tossing to coat the croutons and let set to soak up its goodness for 10 minutes.
Take apples out of the oven and chop adding to the soaked croutons.
Then add the delicata squash rings, sliced red onion, arugula and toss gently.
Transfer Panzanella to a wide serving bowl. Sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds and your choice of crumbled cheese, blue or feta or our favorite goat cheese.