Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saving Stale Bread

While you are in Italy it is quite natural to develop an unnatural attraction to bread. The unfortunate consequence of the affinity is purchasing more bread than you can eat before it goes stale.
I abhor waste! When fruit is dangerously teetering on the brink on the wrong side of its ripeness peak, I freeze it. The same with vegetables.
Bread on the other hand is best frozen before it goes hard.
And one simply does not waste bread in Italy.
Economy is of course a factor, but the primary reason is
fresh or hardened by age it is delicious
I was eating at a restaurant and a couple at a table across from me sent the bread back to the kitchen.
This offense was great.
It was very late in the evening so the bread was not soft as when it is freshly baked but there was not a thing wrong with the bread. (also you do not send food back to the kitchen by insulting it but that is another story for another post.)
From the moment the woman knocked the bread on the table and said this is hard, the quality of their service sharply declined. The waiters started taking things from their table to give to other guests and the attentiveness that is so characteristic of service in Italy all but disappeared.

But I digress...

When you are at home and your bread is a bit harder than you would like there are quite a few recipes that that you can make. Bread pudding, panzanella and stuffing are just three off the top of my head.

The above pictured dish actually had the flavor notes of mushroom stuffing.  I just used the seasonings we had on hand in the apartment and they happened to be those often used in American "stuffing".

The basic idea is to wet the bread and heat it simultaneously so it toasts and crisps without getting soggy. It's a really easy non recipe. You just need to add ingredients in proportion to the amount of "stale" bread you have.


Save Some Bread
2 day old rolls (gluten free or regular) sliced
3 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup fresh spinach
1/4 t rosemary
1/4 t Italian seasoning
1/4 sea salt
3 T olive oil
1.Heat 1 T olive oil then add bread and toast one side
then drizzle with rest of oil and half of salt before flipping.
2. Before the oil is absorbed completely
add mushrooms, seasoning (including rest of the salt)
and tomatoes heat until mushrooms wilt
3. Add spinach and stir then turn off heat and let spinach wilt
4. Sprinkle with pepper and devour....
but like a lady....
unless you are a man...
that is all....

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