RECIPE: Reinvent panzanella for fall

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

A classic tomato panzanella tastes terrific in the heat of summer, but you can make an equally delicious bread salad when the weather turns cool.

To transform the relatively light Tuscan-style tomato and bread salad into a hearty fall dish, I use a combination of kale and boneless skinless chicken thighs along with rustic sourdough bread. Boneless skinless thighs take about the same amount of time to cook in the oven that it takes bread cubes to turn crisp and golden brown, so they can cook together on a sheet pan.

Unlike tomatoes, kale doesn’t have its own flavorful juices to contribute to the dish so I dress it with a generous amount of a quick lemony vinaigrette. Raw kale could suffice for this this salad, but I find that the finished dish is more cohesive when the greens are cooked a bit. Once the chicken and bread are done cooking, I add the kale and all of the vinaigrette left in the bowl to the sheet pan and let it roast until the greens begin to wilt and char. The extra vinaigrette coats the bread and the chicken, bringing the whole dish together.

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