Smoked Black Bread Panzanella

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Yield: Serves : 2 to 4

This platter is a combination of warm, smoky, sweet, and bitter. The flavors and colors speak for themselves, and the addition of smoked ricotta is remarkable. We use a variety from Salvatore Brooklyn, which can be found at boutique grocers and cheese shops. If you cannot find smoked ricotta, opt for a great-quality cow’s-milk ricotta, or make your own. Saba, which is drizzled atop this salad, is our most favorite vinegar. In Italian, saba means “cooked grape juice,” and is a sweet unfermented syrup made from the “must” of Trebbiano grapes and adds a gorgeous caramelized grape flavor and deep hue to the plate. —Karen MordechaiReproduced with permission from Simple Fare: Spring and Summer by Karen Mordechai; ABRAMS Spring 2017Slideshow: More Panzanella Recipes



  • 1⁄2 cup (120 milliliters) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame paste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 to 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Cyprus flake salt
  • 1⁄4 loaf of miche, torn into large pieces


  • 3 or 4 large beets, unpeeled, scrubbed well and halved 1 or 2 baby beets, unpeeled, scrubbed well (see Note)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar


  • 3 or 4 leaves purple kale (see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil


  • 1⁄2 head radicchio, leaves torn (see Note)
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 grams) smoked ricotta (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons saba (grape must syrup)
  • Cyprus flake salt

How to Make It

Step 1    

Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sesame paste, and vinegar. Add the garlic, flaky salt, and bread and toss. Spread the croutons in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool. Keep the oven on.

Step 2    

For the beets: In a cast-iron skillet, toss the beets in the olive oil and vinegar until completely coated. Transfer to the oven and roast until fork- tender and slightly crispy on the outside, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Step 3    

For the kale: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the kale leaves with the olive oil and arrange them on the baking sheet, making sure the leaves do not overlap. Roast until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 4    

Arrange the radicchio leaves, kale, and beets on a platter. Top with the croutons and spoon the smoked ricotta on the side. Drizzle with the olive oil and saba and finish with flaky salt.


To make the variations, the original ingredients (beets, purple kale, radicchio and smoked ricotta) can be replaced by the alternative options below. The carrots and tomatoes can be roasted in the same method as the beets, but will take less time: 20 to 25 minutes total. Do not roast either the mizuna or arugula—simply add it raw to the dish in place of the crispy kale.

Variation 1

2 bunches carrots, roasted 
1⁄2 head mizuna
1 cup (35 grams) watercress
1⁄2 cup (120 milliliters) plain yogurt, good-quality store-bought or homemade

Variation 2

2 tomatoes, sliced
2 cups (40 grams) arugula
1⁄2 cup (20 grams) fresh purple basil 
8 ounces (225 grams) burrata 

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