Posts Tagged ‘Dried Fruit’

When we got married, we had the most adorable woman catering our wedding.  She was hilarious and so sweet.  In one of our conversations, she started talking about Tyler Florence, and referred to him as “a little slice of heaven.”  A couple weeks ago, I caught an episode of his, and he made a salad that looked just incredible.  I mentally added those ingredients to my next farmers market list, determined to make it.  And when I did, OMG.  If it’s possible for a salad to be a little slice of heaven, well, this is it.

Like most recipes anywhere, but especially for salads, the original is way too complicated.  I skipped a lot of steps and ingredients.  It was still delicious.   The basics are beets, greens, and toasted bread.   The ingredients all taste good together, and none are so delicate as to be overpowered by the others.  So, just play around with proportions and just work with what ingredients you have.  Because this was my dark days meal, I skipped a few things (goat cheese, balsamic vinegar) that wouldn’t have been local, and nothing was missed.

Winter Panzanella Salad
adapted from Tyler Florence

Greens (recipe recommended arugula, I used baby chard.  Radicchio would probably be amazing.)
Italian bread, cut into crouton size pieces
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


Spread the bread on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and bake on 350 until they start to become dry and crispy, like croutons, about 10-15 minutes, depending on how big your cubes are.  When they are done, add to a large salad bowl.

Scrub the beets and cut them in half.  Cut the shallots in half.  Place on some tin foil, drizzle with oil, and wrap up.  Roast in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes or until the beets turn soft (mine took about 40 minutes).

When the beets are done, pour off the juices into a bowl (this is why you should wash the beets first).  Peel the beets and cut in to 1 inch chunks and put in a large salad bowl with the bread.  Mash up the shallots and add those to the roasted beet liquid.

Pit the dates and chop them into smaller chunks.  Add to the beets and bread.  Chop of the salad greens if needed and add those to that mixture.

Juice the orange or whatever citrus you have, and add that to the beet liquid.  Add a bit of honey and some vinegar if you’d like.

Dice the pancetta, and cook in a skillet.  When it’s cooked, pour that and the fat into the beet liquid with the citrus and honey.  Whisk together, pour over the salad, and toss.  If you want, add goat cheese.  Blue cheese would be good too.  But even without the cheese, the salad was incredible and made for a super delicious weeknight dinner.

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I have found that the vast majority of fun appetizer recipes involve carbs with a topping.  Canapes, bruschetta, and even just a cheese tray are all essentially the same thing.  Crackers or bread with stuff on them.  Which is fine, but when you are serving pizza for dinner, bruschetta is a pretty lame appetizer.

This Martha Stewart recipe is perfect for those situations.  And it could not be easier.  Martha calls for 20 ounces of figs for 6 to 8 people.  That seemed incredibly excessive, and I used about 10 ounces for my crowd of 7, which seemed to be just the right amount. 

The original recipe is simply equal parts honey and olive oil whisked together, then use the mixture to coat the dried figs before sprinkling them with coarse salt and baking for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Martha suggests a mix of dried Mission and Turkish figs, but I just used dried Calymyrna figs because that’s what they had at the store.

The finished product was delicious.  The inside of the figs get very soft and almost creamy, and the outside gets this delicious glaze.   So good.  Next time I make them, I’d probably increase the salt a bit because I like salty food.  But, the beauty of this recipe is that its so simple that you can adjust it to your taste.

I served the figs on a platter with thinly sliced proscuitto.  Seriously people, cooking does not get any easier than this.

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