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- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 1 6- to 7-ounce Granny Smith apple, quartered, cored, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 8 tablespoons (about) apple cider
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 9 cups 3/4-inch cubes panettone* or raisin challah (about 1 pound)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Coarse sea salt (preferably gray crystals)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 10- to 11-ounce head of radicchio, halved, cored, thinly sliced
- 12 ounces 1/8-inch-thick slices pancetta (Italian bacon), cut into 2x1/8-inch strips
- 1 pound small brussels sprouts, trimmed, quartered lengthwise
- Fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)
Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple slices and sauté until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes. Cover; cook until very tender, about 1 minute. Transfer apple slices and pan juices to blender and cool. Add oil, vinegar, and shallots. Blend until smooth. Add cider, 2 tablespoons at a time, blending to pourable consistency. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place panettone in large bowl. Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, sage, and thyme. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour butter mixture over panettone; toss to coat. Add cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss. Spread cubes on prepared sheet.
Bake croutons until pale golden, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Cool on baking sheet up to 6 hours.
Place radicchio in large bowl of water and ice. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
Sauté pancetta in large skillet over medium heat until crisp; transfer to paper towels to drain. Cook brussels sprouts in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 7 minutes; drain. DO AHEAD Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Combine croutons, pancetta, and brussels sprouts in large bowl. Drain radicchio very well and add to salad. Add enough vinaigrette to coat, tossing to blend well. Transfer salad to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, if desired.
*A sweet, fruit-filled egg bread; available at specialty foods stores, Italian markets, and many bakeries.