With fresh salad greens available year round from Cherrydale Farms and mostly year round from Pat’s Patch, a leafy, local foundation can be used to build any salad. This version of the Italian bread salad (panzella) can be made local with crusty bread from Crusty Uprising. This salad features sweet and sour Montmorency dried cherries enhanced by a few bitter greens (either fresh arugula or young dandelion greens) and the salty tang of a hard Wisconsin cheese, all against the chewy marinated bread.
For the salad:
4 cups leftover French bread, cubed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dried Montmorency cherries
2 handfuls of mixed greens
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 handful of dandelion greens or arugula
1/4 cup sunflower kernels or blanched (skinless) almonds
shaved parmesan or extra-sharp cheddar
For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon minced scallions
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch of salt
cracked black pepper
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Drizzle the bread cubes with olive oil and spread them out on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the bread is browned on the edges.
In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the vinaigrette until emulsified. Gently toss the bread cubes and the cherries with the vinaigrette, and let them marinate for 5 to 10 minutes, until the bread has just softened, yet the crust is still crunchy. This also allows the bread to cool as to not wilt the salad greens.
Toss the greens and nuts in the bowl to coat with the vinaigrette. Serve with shaved cheese on top, to taste.