Roast Chicken Panzanella
What we love about this salad is that it’s chocablock with goodies. Sure, it has some romaine, but it’s mostly about the other stuff — the lightly pickled veggies, sweet strawberries, tender rotisserie chicken, pepitas, and jumbo croutons.
A word about the croutons: We made them from torn pieces of sourdough swabbed in olive oil and seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. They taste like incredibly fancy toast and go down like popcorn. In the test kitchen, our chef was stealing them off the sheet pan at an alarming rate. But they’re even better once they’ve sopped up all the salad’s juices.
Panzanella is a colorful, hearty main course salad, perfect for a picnic on the patio. We like to make it during the week, especially on a hot night — you can pick up one of our rotisserie chickens and have a one-bowl dinner on the table in minutes without fussing with the stove.
Our tips: The croutons are a terrific way to use up day-old bread. If you’re not feeling the chicken, the salad is great without it — and a nice companion to grilled shrimp or steak. For wine pairings, think about a bottle of Domaine Pichot Vouvray Le Peu de la Moriette. It has a rich fruitiness, not too sweet or dry, and just enough acidity to complement the ripe tomatoes and bring out the salad’s herbs.
⅓ lb sourdough, torn into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
½ small red onion, chopped
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
¼ cup sherry vinegar
2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped dill, divided
2 romaine hearts, torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves, rough chopped
2 cups Gelson’s rotisserie chicken, shredded
¼ cup salted toasted pepitas
Preheat the oven to 400°.
On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Let cool.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the onion with both vinegars. Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, and ½ the dill, stir, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Whisk the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil into the veggies and season with salt and pepper.
Add the romaine pieces, strawberries, cilantro, remaining dill, chicken, and the toasted bread and toss well.
Transfer the salad to a platter, sprinkle with the pepitas, and serve.
Recipe source: Food & Wine