I learned about the concept of panzanella salads from Smitten Kitchen a couple years ago, however I have never really eaten croutons. But I liked the concept of being able to adapt the dish to the season (since I do so much of that already). So I started making similar salads replacing potatoes or other starches for the croutons. It’s basically another way of doing seasonal pasta primaveras (once again, just switch the starch!) which I do all the time.
During the portion of the year when the farm stands are inactive or don’t have much variety, I get a CSA (community supported agriculture) delivery for most of my vegetables. The one that serves my area isn’t great, but the quality and variety of fruits and vegetables are still better than the local stores. Also, I have found that I can use the unpredictability of the deliveries to force myself to try new things, whether it is working with an entirely new vegetable or just finding different ways to prepare whatever you get too much of. It is because of these deliveries that I discovered purple daikon radishes.
Unlike many radishes, the spicy bite of these is very subtle. Sweet like a fresh carrot initially, with just a slight spice at the back of the palate. In this recipe, they work well in conjunction with the sweet carrots and snap peas, and provide a great pop of color. If you can’t get purple daikon radishes, I’m pretty sure regular daikon radishes or watermelon radishes would also work.
- 3 c potatoes, in ¾” cubes (use a waxy style of potato like Yukon gold, Russian fingerling, red creamer, etc.)
- 1 ½ c radishes, sliced thinly in 1/8” quarters or semi-circles (large style slightly sweet radishes such as daikon, purple daikon, watermelon, etc.)
- 1 c carrots, sliced long 1 ½” x ¼”
- ¾ c spring onion (red or yellow), quartered and sliced thinly (1/8” or less)
- 2 c snap peas, deveined and chopped into ½ - ¾” pieces
- 3 tbsp walnut oil
- 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- Steam cubed potatoes for 15 or until just soft enough that a sharp knife inserted moves through smoothly. Rinse off potatoes with cool water. Allow to cool to at least room temperature.
- Mix all vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle oil and vinegar on vegetables. Toss to coat.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and toss thoroughly. Stores well for up to two days.
- Serves 8 as a side or 4 as a main (great with a fried or poached egg on top)