Autumn Panzanella

Serves 4 as a main course or 8-10 as a side salad

Be sure to allow the finished dish to sit for an hour before serving. This is necessary for the flavors to fully develop, otherwise the bread will not have time to absorb the dressing and may taste rather bland.

Ingredients:

Salad
10 cups cubed Sourdough bread (cut into 1" pieces)
1 cup diced sweet potato (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2" wedges
2 cups diced fresh tomato (or a 14oz high quality can, drained)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pepitas, toasted (pumpkin seeds)

Dressing
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh sage, minced
1 teaspoon, fresh thyme
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon herbes de provenence

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the middle. Line a large rimmed baking pan with foil, and evenly spread the bread, sweet potato, and onion across the sheet. Drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil over the baking pan, and then toss all ingredients so they are evenly coated with oil. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring the contents occasionally, until they are evenly toasted and the vegetables are soft.

Meanwhile, assemble the dressing. Place olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, sage, thyme, vinegar, salt, pepper, and herbes de provenence in a blender. Blend in quick five second bursts, until the garlic is emulsified and the ingredients are well combined.

Once the bread and vegetables are toasted, place them in a large bowl along with the diced tomatoes, grated Parmesan, pepitas, and dressing. Gently toss all ingredients until they are well combined and the bread is evenly coated with dressing.

Cover the salad, and let it sit at room temperature for an hour, which will give the bread time to absorb the flavors of the salad. Once the flavors have melded together nicely, taste the salad to see if it needs any additional salt, pepper, or apple cider vinegar. Adjust seasonings to your taste, and serve.

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