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Friday, 20 January 2012

Kale Panzanella

There are a lot of things you can do with a stale loaf of bread (feed pigeons, make bread crumbs, bludgeon your enemies) but this one might just be the best.  The first time I tried it was in a little Italian restaurant on the lower east side of Manhattan with our friend Veronica.  I had just discovered the wonder that is Kale and reflexively ordered it when I saw it on the menu.  I actually had no idea what the dish was when I ordered but to this day I am exceedingly glad that I did.  It's hearty, healthy (mostly), extremely delicious and best of all it's frugal since it uses bread that you might otherwise have thrown out.

2 pints cherry tomatoes
Splash of gape seed oil
1 large bunch of kale (about 6-8 cups)
1/2 loaf crusty bread (ideally stale, leftover bread)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar or juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.
Arrange the cherry tomatoes in a baking dish and toss with a drizzle of grape seed oil and pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until they turn soft and start to shrink, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Dice the bread into 1" cubes. In total, you'll need about 3 cups of bread. Arrange the cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven til golden, about 5-10 minutes, turning part way through. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Remove the tough ribs and ends from the kale and discard. Tear the kale leaves into pieces and rinse in a colander under cold water. In a large pot, heat a drizzle of oil on medium-high heat. Add 2/3rds of the garlic and saute for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the kale and 1/3 cup of water (a splash of white wine also works well). Reduce the heat to medium-low and saute with the lid on for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until tender but still al dente. Drain any remaining water from the pot.

To make the salad dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and pinch of salt and pepper and about half a teaspoon of very finely diced garlic. In a large salad bowl, combine the tomatoes (along with any juices), bread, and kale. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature. 


  1. Love panzanella, husband loves kale, so this is a winning idea. Thank you! (Totally going to make it tonight -- I have all the ingredients on hand!)

  2. Love it! That Kale salad is definitely one of the best in New York. Another good edition is some parmesan cheese, it reduces the healthy factor, but you won't hear me complaining!