recipe development chef, Bristol food stylist, food stylist Bristol, private catering Bristol
AUTUMN SQUASH & GRAPE PANZANELLA
This is an autumnal take on a dish I served at my supper club, Eats Roots and Leaves. Panzanella is a Tuscan salad, traditionally made with tomatoes as a way to use up stale bread as the bread absorbs all the flavour from the fresh ingredients in the salad, but it’s a delicious and richly textured way of serving autumn squash too. Do try to get hold of Delicata squash if you can - some supermarkets and most greengrocers will have it in stock from October - January, but butternut squash will work well too.
2 delicata squash, or one butternut squash, halved lengthways and de-seeded
4 garlic cloves, skin left on
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
1 stick cinnamon
4 sprigs rosemary
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling & dressing
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp Pul Biber (Turkish chilli flakes), or a pinch chilli flakes
2 handfuls seedless red grapes (halved lengthways)
2 tbsps capers, rinsed
3 large slices of stale bread, roughly torn
1 tsp dijon mustard
Juice and zest of a lemon
1 tsp maple syrup
50g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Leaves from 1/2 bunch tarragon
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Slice half of the squash into 1cm half moons, and the rest of the squash into irregular 1cm chunks. Don’t worry about perfect or evenly-sized pieces, it’s really lovely to have different textures and caramelised edges as the squash cooks. Tumble the squash into a large roasting tray with the garlic, onions, cinnamon and rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil to coat and season the squash well with salt and pepper. Mix to coat each piece of squash and place in the hot oven for 25 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and add the sherry vinegar, chilli flakes, grapes, and capers to the roasting tray. Mix well to make sure everything is evenly combined, then return the tray to the oven for a final 20 minutes, until the squash is soft and caramelised and the grapes are crimpling and catching at the edges.
Meanwhile, arrange the bread in one layer on a separate tray and drizzle over enough olive oil to coat. Season well with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the oven for 12 minutes until crisp and golden.
Remove everything from the oven and squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins into a small mixing bowl (careful as they’ll be hot). Use a fork to mash the garlic cloves into a smooth paste, then mix in the mustard, lemon juice and zest, maple syrup and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Taste and add salt and pepper to season.
Spoon the squash and toasted bread onto a serving platter and drizzle over half the dressing. Scatter over the hazelnuts and tarragon leaves and serve with the rest of the dressing alongside. This salad is just as delicious served warm from the oven or at room temperature after the flavours have had a chance to muddle.