I would be completely lying if I said I’m over the flavors of summer. Because, apparently, I’m just not. For weeks now, I’ve been craving a fresh tomato panzanella salad like crazy. And that’s fresh tomato, as in, fresh-out-of-my-garden fresh. Sadly, it’s just not meant to be in mid-November in the Midwest.
But then I got to thinking about the panzanella salad in general, in all its brilliant vegetable-crouton-vinaigrette simplicity: with in-season vegetables, it’s totally doable.
I also got to thinking about cabbage — yes, I’m ingredient obsessed; you can’t help it when your passion is cooking — and how substituting it for the lettuce in a traditional panzanella would absolutely work for Fall.
But not just any ole cabbage … sauteed cabbage.
Cabbage sauteed in … bacon drippings. With squash and shallots and crunchy garlic croutons. And a light apple cider vinaigrette.
I know, some folks get squirrely over cooked cabbage.
Cold cabbage coleslaw, no problem.
But heat up that glorious ball of green, and the peeps go running for the hills.
But you won’t, will you? If you’ve never had sauteed — not boiled, sauteed — cabbage, I encourage you to try it (it’s part of this recipe, courtesy of Ina Garten — you can never go wrong with Ina). I think it will change your mind about cooked cabbage.
And then there’s the slaw. Loaded with sweet, roasted squash and finished with flavors like salty bacon, tangy apple cider and sweet honey mustard, cabbage will never be the same again.
Warm Autumn Slaw
cabbage preparation adapted from Ina Garten on Foodnetwork.com
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 50 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1 medium butternut squash
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 slices bacon
1 large shallot, diced
1 small head green or savoy cabbage, outer leaves removed, if damaged
1 heaping cup croutons
roasted squash seeds
salt and pepper
1 heaping teaspoon honey dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375°F
2. Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and fibers, reserving the seeds. Brush the squash flesh with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place skin side up on a baking sheet. Rinse the seeds to remove pulp and fiber. Pat dry and, in a small bowl, coat with a small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out the seeds on the baking sheet alongside the squash and place in oven. Check the seeds after about 20 minutes. They should be golden brown. Remove the seeds when ready, and return the squash to the oven for another 10 minutes. The squash is done when a knife easily pierces the skin. Remove from oven and allow to cool until they can be handled.
3. Meanwhile, warm a large saute pan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove from pan and allow to cool and drain on a paper-towel lined plate. There should be between 1 and 2 tablespoons of bacon grease left in the pan. If less, add some olive oil.
4. Add the shallots and stir until they begin to soften. Add the cabbage and turn to coat well with the bacon grease. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Saute, stirring and turning frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Remove the skin from the squash, slice into cubes, and add to the cabbage, stirring briefly to reheat the squash. Turn heat to low.
6. Crumble the bacon over the slaw. Top with croutons and roasted squash seeds.
7. Drizzle some of the dressing over the slaw and mix gently to incorporate. Top with additional dressing to your liking.