See, here’s the reason I made the cornbread the other day. I DID mix the recipe up just a bit this time – making it much more like a regular salad than a panzanella – bread and veggies and dressing. It was nice, but next time I will stick to my traditional ingredients – corn bread, thinly sliced red onion and English cucumber – all lovingly bathed in a lemon-dijon vinaigrette. The tomatoes (from ‘teh garden’!) were a nice addition, but, much as I like my romaine, I don’t think it added too, too much to the salad.
The original recipe from Paula Deen (tho’ she calls for cornbread mix rather than making her own bread recipe) calls for grilled onion and peppers and zucchini and squash, so if you’re feeling adventuresome, I’ll leave those ingredients in the list – but this is really nice with just the onion and cucumber. I will also note that Paula’s corn bread recipe was really well suited for this use – it baked up dense and firm – and corn bread is not that much more involved to make from scratch than a box.
•2 (6 oz) pkgs. buttermilk corn bread mix
•1/4 cup butter, melted
•1 large sweet onion – cut into rings
•1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into wedges
•1 green bell pepper seeded and cut into wedges
•2 yellow squash cut into 1 inch thick slices
•1 zucchini, cut into 1 inch thick slices
•2 tbsp olive oil
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
•3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
•2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
•1 tbsp Dijon mustard
•1 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp salt
•3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 450º. Lightly grease a 9×9 baking pan
Prepare cornbread mixes according to pkg. directions. Pour combined batter into pan and bake for 12 to 14 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
Heat oven to 400º.
Turn cornbread onto cutting board and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in single layer on baking sheet and drizzle with melted butter, tossing gently to coat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until cornbread is toasted – set aside to cool.
Combine onion, peppers, squash and zucchini in a large bowl. Add olive oil and garlic and toss gently to coat.
Grill onion slices for 3 minutes per side; remove and chop. Grill peppers in closed grill for 8 minutes per side; remove and chop. Grill squash and zucchini in closed grill for 2 minutes per side; remove and chop.
Make the lemon vinaigrette by whisking everything but the oil together in a small bowl; then add the oil, gradually, while whisking – I think it’s far simpler to combine all the ingredients, but the oil, in a blender jar and pulse to combine. With the blender running, add the oil through the hole in the lid in a thin stream until the dressing emulsifies. Cover and chill until you serve the salad.
Combine veggies, tomatoes and corn bread squares in a large bowl. Add the lemon vinaigrette and toss gently. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired (I think the parsley adds a LOT to this salad – you could also try cilantro). Serve immediately.
If you don’t go the grilled veggie route – I think I’d rub a cut bulb of garlic around the bowl before tossing whichever ingredients you do want to use together – again, I traditionally use red onion and English cucumber – tho’ I wouldn’t say no to some jarred roasted red pepper and perhaps some lovely kalamata olives.