Stale bread

"Stale bread can be very useful, so it is foolish to waste it" James Beard What do you do with leftover doughy things that have become as hard as cobbler's nails in the breadbox or fridge? I'm not just referring to the last three slices from the daily l

“Stale bread can be very useful, so it is foolish to waste it”

James Beard

What do you do with leftover doughy things that have become as hard as cobbler’s nails in the breadbox or fridge? I’m not just referring to the last three slices from the daily loaf, but also the bagel, the pita, challah, the coffee cake, or banana bread. Toss it to the birds, throw it in the rubbish or, at some nod to salvaging, crush it into crumbs?

Wonderful things come from leftover bread (and its floury ilk.) Challah (braided egg bread), coffee cake or panettone and banana bread, or other fruit breads, make wicked French toast.

Grilled stale baguette, topped with tapenade (olive-and-caper spread) or rubbed with olive oil, garlic clove and a halved tomato until the juices are heavenly snacks an appies. Great “chips” or melba toast are fashioned from bagels and bread, sliced thinly then baked in a 250 degree oven

I cube, bag and freeze a lot of “heels”—corn bread, garlic-and-olive (or herb) bread, baguette, wheat, whole grain and rye. Gathered all together in the company of sauteed onion, garlic, celery, sage and sausage meat (or diced bacon), the combo provides texture and flavour for a simple stuffing for poultry or pork.

Two of my favourite main-dish salads owe their deliciousness to crusty bits.

The first is Fattoush, a Lebanese salad bearing a strong likeness to Greek salad. This chunky concoction, however, relies on toasted pita (stale is ideal) and lots of fresh mint. Radish and lettuce also figure into this terrific Middle Eastern salad.

Tear roughly 2 cups romaine lettuce. Coarsely chop 2 tomatoes, half a long English cucumber, 1 green pepper, half a red onion (or to taste), and a few radishes. Rough chop 15 or so mint leaves and a handful of Italian parsley. Toast or bake 1-2 cups stale pita (NOTE: dried-out pita burns quickly, especially in the toaster). Crack the pita into pieces. Mix all ingredients together and toss lightly with classic lemon vinaigrette. (Blend and shake in a container with a tight fitting lid, 1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil, sea-salt and coarse black pepper to taste). (Traditional dressing for fattoush also calls for 1-2tbsp. of powdered sumac and a little pomegranate syrup). Crisp, clean white low-alcohol wine best suits this salad—or lemony not-too-sweet iced tea or mint tea.

The second dish, Tuscan bread salad (Panzanella) absolutely wows come August when ripe, juicy, preferably heirloom, tomatoes and fresh basil are at their peak. The salad echoes the red, white and green of the Italian Flag. For preparing off-season, I suggest campari, grape or cherry tomatoes—some yellow, some red, if possible. Larger orbs, rosy as they appear, lack flavour. Salt free, thick-sliced crusty white bread, is best for panzanella. Most methods call for soaking the bread for 10 minutes then wringing out the water. I skip this step. For me the bread gets too soggy.

Cut bread into cubes and place in an attractive serving bowl or on a large oval platter. Add tomatoes, cucumber, onions and basil. Season with olive oil and salt. Mix well and let sit. Before serving, add lemon juice or balsamic and mix again. Serve with olive oil, vinegar, and salt on the side. For a more robust dish blend in a cup of white cannelini beans or chickpeas, and a several black olives. (I prefer to soak dried legumes overnight, bring to a boil then simmer until tender-firm rather than use tinned). Partner again with crisp fresh light to moderate bodied red or white wines—Pinot grigio for or valpolicella, or simple Chianti—or a chilled lager

The Spaniards thicken gazpacho—a pureed potage of tomato, cucumber, red and/or green pepper, garlic and onion—with soaked stale bread. Again best made with top-notch veggies, it’s possible to whip up a decent gazpacho with good quality tinned tomatoes. Garnishes include croutons (from stale bread of course) and crumbled hard-cooked egg. The soup is served chilled and partners well with a thimbleful of fino sherry, or chilled dry Rosado/rose.

Suggested Wines for Fattoush, Panzanella and Gazpacho (The Liquor Corp. price list lacks a dry rose (at least I did not see one), but with roses coming on strong this year a few may start to appear

Folonari Pinot Grigio $16.85 (Panzanella, Fattoush Gazpacho)

Avelda Vinho Verde Casal Garcia $13.50 (Fattoush, Gazpacho)

Folonari Valpolicella Classico $16.40 (Panzanella)

Cecchi Chianti $15.55 (Panzanella)

Gray Monk Gamay Noir $20.40 (Panzanella, Gazpacho)

KWV Paarl Pale Dry Sherry $12.45 (Gazpacho)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Yukon Budget 2.0

If the banks that finance the Yukon’s growing debt were the only… Continue reading

Yukon Supreme Court Chief Justice Suzanne Duncan dismissed an application on May 3 seeking more transparity on the territory’s state of emergency declaration. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Supreme Court rules confidential memo can’t be used in challenge of state of emergency

Court upholds cabinet confidentiality after request to use internal government memo as evidence.

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 7, 2021.… Continue reading

Yukon Party MLAs Wade Istchenko and Stacey Hassard are facing criticism for crude text messages in a group chat. (Submitted)
First Nations leaders call for stricter punishment of Yukon Party MLAs

Queer Yukon has also criticized the two individuals involved in an inappropriate group chat

Fire chief Jason Everett (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City launches emergency alert system

The city is calling on residents and visitors to register for Whitehorse Alert

Two young orienteers reach their first checkpoint near Shipyards Park during a Yukon Orienteering Association sprint race May 5. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Orienteers were back in action for the season’s first race

The Yukon Orienteering Association began its 2021 season with a sprint race beginning at Shipyards.

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its May 3 meeting and the upcoming 20-minute makeover.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister talks tourism in “virtual visit” to the Yukon

Tourism operators discussed the budget with Freeland

Polarity Brewing is giving people extra incentive to get their COVID vaccine by offering a ‘free beer’ within 24 hours of their first shot. John Tonin/Yukon News
Polarity Brewing giving out ‘free’ beer with first COVID vaccination

Within 24 hours of receiving your first COVID-19 vaccine, Polarity Brewing will give you a beer.

A Yukon government sign is posted to one of the trees that have been brought down for the sewer project in Riverdale explaining the project. The area is set to be revegetated with grass when it is complete. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Planned stormsewer outfall will improve drainage on Selkirk Street

Resident raises concern over clearing as council considers agreement.

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve’s baby bison, born April 22, mingles with the herd on April 29. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Yukon Wildlife Preserves welcomes two bison calves

A bison calf was the first 2021 baby born at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

A map provided by the Yukon government shows the location of unpermitted logging leading to a $2,500 fine. (Courtesy/Yukon government)
Man fined $2,500 for felling trees near Beaver Creek

The incident was investigated by natural resource officers and brought to court.

Most Read