Herby, citrusy, and fishy, this panzanella is begging to be shared with a crowd (yes, they will want this octopus-based recipe). —INGRAIN, Spring 2019
All you need is some leftover bread, herbs, whatever citrus is in the fridge, and in this case, an octopus (because you always keep one in the freezer, yes?) for this party-ready panzanella. Make the Pulpo a la Gallega a day ahead, and you’ll be ready to go.
Pairing A Belgian-style farmhouse ale like Sofie (Goose Island) with fresh orange peel.
Serves 6 to 8
2 loaves ciabatta or focaccia
Small bunch fresh thyme
Freshly ground pepper
2 bunches or 1 bag (12 ounces) baby spinach
6 to 8 oranges, mandarins, or tangerines
Honey Balsamic Dressing (ingredients + recipe below)
Kalamata olives (handful)
Oven to 425 degrees. Tear 2 loaves ciabatta or focaccia into roughly 1-inch-size chunks. Scatter bread on 2 rimmed baking sheets, sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves + kosher salt + freshly ground pepper, to taste, and bake until bread is golden brown on the edges but still somewhat soft in the center, 10 to 15 minutes. Rotate baking sheets and stir the bread once or twice while baking. Let cool.
2 bunches (12 to 15 ounces) baby spinach on a serving platter. Peel 6 to 8 oranges, mandarins, or tangerines and slice into small wedges; set aside. Place toasted bread in a large bowl, pour ½ cup Honey Balsamic Dressing on top, and stir bread to incorporate dressing. Taste and season with more dressing, if needed.
Pulpo a la Gallega (tentacles only, separated) gently into bread mixture; be careful not to break the tentacles. Arrange bread and octopus mixture on top of the spinach. Scatter citrus and a handful of Kalamata olives on top of salad, and serve.
HONEY BALSAMIC DRESSING
Makes about 1 cup
¼ cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup honey
¼ cup good-quality balsamic vinegar + ½ cup extra virgin olive oil in a medium bowl. Whisk in 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, or more to taste.
¼ cup honey in a saucepan. Stir half of honey into dressing, taste, and add more if you’d like. Season generously with kosher salt + freshly ground pepper.