Strawberry Cornbread Panzanella
Chef Jennifer Shearer
PRESS Bistro and Craft at Stonebridge Brewery
Chef Jennifer Shearer entered this recipe in a contest celebrating neighborhood restaurants and won the grand prize. This was a popular menu item at PRESS Bistro, her Pennsylvania restaurant which has since closed. However, Chef Shearer and her husband are opening a new restaurant Craft at Stonebridge Brewing later this year. Juicy red strawberries stand in for the usual tomatoes and cornbread for crusty Italian bread giving this bread salad a summery twist.
½ box (2½ lb.) honey cornbread mix
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
3 cups cool water
¾ cup olive oil
3 lb. (8 cups) fresh strawberries, quartered
1 lb. English cucumbers, cut into ¼-in. slices and halved (4 cups)
5 oz. glazed pecans (1 cup)
1 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup balsamic salad dressing
Fresh mint and basil leaves, chopped, for garnish
1½ cups balsamic glaze
1. For cornbread croutons, preheat conventional oven to 375 F or convection oven to 325 F. in large bowl, whisk together cornbread mix, brown sugar and poppy seeds. Add water and mix until combined into a batter.
2. Line half sheet pan with parchment paper. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 17 to 20 minutes for conventional oven and 18 to 22 minutes in convection oven until surface is firm to touch and color is light brown. Cool cornbread and turn onto parchment-lined full sheet pan
3. Remove parchment from cornbread; cut into 1-inch cubes using a serrated knife and drizzle with oil. Gently separate and spread out cubes to cover pan; bake again in a 400 F. conventional oven for 15 minutes or about 10 minutes in a 350 F convection until golden brown.
4. For salad, in large bowl, mix together strawberries, cucumber slices, pecans, bacon and feta cheese. Add cornbread cubes; toss gently to combine. Drizzle with balsamic dressing and toss gently to coat
5. Portion onto plates and garnish with mint and basil; drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.
Photo courtesy of General Mills