Pumpkin panzanella

I adore the no-nonsense writing style of Florence Fabricant and her great ideas for wine and food pairings. Her recipes have become some of the best in my kitchen arsenal. The following was a delicious accompaniment to a mid-week dinner of curried shrimp and too much wine with friends. It’s based on a FloFab recipe I clipped a few years ago for an autumnal version of the classic Italian salad, panzanella.

Pumpkin Panzanella

Flesh from 1 pie pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, scooped, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 small loaf of whole wheat crusty bread, cut into (you guessed it) 1-inch chunks

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 quince, peeled, cored, diced

1 apple or pear, peeled, cored, diced

3/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

1 t. cumin

12 sundried tomatoes, slivered

1 T. capers

2 T. chopped parsley and tarragon

Add the pumpkin and the cauliflower to a large pot of salted, boiling water. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and add to a large bowl.

Saute the bread cubes in half of the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until toasty brown. Set aside.

In a different pan, saute the onions, quince, and apple in the remaining olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the cider vinegar and cumin, then pour over pumpkin and cauliflower. Mix to coat. Add sundried tomatoes, capers, bread, and toss together. Cover bowl and let sit on the counter for a few hours for the flavors to develop.

Just before serving, add parsley and tarragon and toss salad together. Add salt and pepper to taste.