I’m internally conflicted. I look outside and say, “Let’s put on our suits and lay by the pool.” I don’t think twice when he turns on the A/C. But my brain is fully aware it’s the first week of April, and from a young age I learned that spring — with a smattering of nice days — also sees snowstorms, parkas, mittens, even long underwear for yours truly.

It feels like July! I guess I finally have to admit I’m not in WI anymore. Sigh.

A northerner living in the south is bound to be confused. What I’m not confused about is how delicious cornbread panzanella is.

A no-brainer.

It just took my frazzled, conflicted mind a little while to think of it.

Cast Iron Cornbread Panzanella [serves 4]

Printable recipe

3 T black olive tapenade [a pre-made version is fine]

1 T white wine vinegar

juice and zest of 1 small lemon

4 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T regular olive oil

any dark leafy green [I think we used mustard greens], ribbed and coarsely chopped

1/3 recipe Sprouted Kitchen’s Cast Iron Cornbread*, cut into 1″ cubes [about 2 c total]

1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped

1/2 of a medium cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 medium or 3 small scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal [shallot would be a nice sub]

kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Preheat the oven to 250° F. Scatter the cornbread in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook until lightly toasted on all sides, 10-12 minutes.

In the [large] bowl you intend to serve the panzanella, combine tapenade, vinegar, lemon juice, zest and olive oil with a whisk. Add salt and pepper, to taste; you probably won’t need as much salt as most dressings, since the tapenade is already salty.

Heat 1 T oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped greens and sauté gently until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add cornbread, tomato, cucumber, scallions and wilted greens to the tapenade dressing bowl. Toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Top with cheese shavings. Serve as a light entrée or side to grilled or roasted meat.

Do ahead: Keep the cornbread croutons in one container, the dressing in another and the veg mixture in a third. This panzanella is best freshly assembled, or in the 30 minutes after if you like the bread to sop up a little of the dressing first.

*In the cast iron cornbread, I left out the cheddar cheese since I add cheese to the top of the salad.

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