22 March 2015

7 (+) Interestingly Different Ideas for Leftover Bread

I have just read (again!) that in Britain we throw out over 20 million slices of bread a day, and that's without me throwing away a single slice! These people are nutters.

There is so much can be done with leftover bread, it goes with almost anything! As I have mentioned before I stash all my crusts and bits and pieces in the freezer so that I always have the making of something good.

There are, of course, many well knows dishes such as bread sauce (my luxurious bread sauce recipe is here), bread pudding (both the custardy one and the manly bread pudding!) , croutons and pangrattato (posh word for crunch breadcrumbs) so on, all great uses of spare bread but this post suggests some more unusual ideas from around the world that are well worth trying.

1.     Pappa al Pomodoro ~ Tomato and Bread Soup from Tuscany – for 4


This is traditionally made with fresh tomatoes but canned chopped tomatoes work fine as a substitute, or use a mixture as in this case.

750g cherry tomatoes
2 or 3 thick slices of stale rustic bread - diced
60ml olive oil
1 medium onion – finely chopped
3 finely chopped garlic clove
small bunch of fresh basil – the leaves shredded, the stems coarsely chopped
1 x 390g carton or 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
(if flavoured with garlic, basil or chilli all to the better!)
250ml vegetable stock
a little great extra virgin olive oil for drizzling and/or freshly grated Parmesan

~   Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/170ºC fan/gas 5.
~   Toss the cherry tomatoes with a little of the oil season and roast in a shallow dish till starting to collapse. You can do this hours or even a day or so in advance if you happen to have the oven on for something else.
~   Gently cook the onion in the rest of the olive oil till starting to soften, then add the garlic and basil stems and cook a few minutes more.
~   Add both the chopped and the roast tomatoes and the stock and bring to a boil.
~   Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring and squashing a bit.
~   Stir in the bread and most of the basil and allow to sit of the heat for several minutes.
~   Stir the bread unto the tomatoes to form a thick porridgy situation.
~   Now it’s up to you;  leave it at that, stir more to make a silky texture, add more stock or water for a soupier consistency, taste and season.
~   Bring back up to temperature and serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with Parmesan and scattered with shredded basil (or parsley as in my photo but basil is best!)

panzanella bread salad

The Tuscans also make a fine bread and tomato salad called Panzanella - see here for details.

2.     Skordalia


This is a traditional Greek sauce, a kind of garlicky mayonnaise with the bread replacing the egg yolk. This makes 150ml.

80g of dry bread torn into pieces
1 clove of garlic – chopped
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp red wine vinegar or lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil

~   Soak the bread in cold water for a few minutes till saturated then squeeze out as dry as possible.
~   Crush the garlic and the salt to a paste with a pestle and mortar.
~   Work in the damp bread and stir in the vinegar.
~   Gradually, a drop at a time as with making mayonnaise, whisk in the olive oil to emulsify.


skordalia - Greek bread sauce

3.     Fried Bread Curry! (aka Roti Upma)  


Per person ...

This was a lovely surprise, so much nicer than I expected.

2 tbsp oil (or ghee)
2 slices of stale bread – diced or torn into pieces
¼ tsp mustard seeds
1 hot red chilli chopped
(I freeze fresh chillies; they are easily chopped from frozen)
a small red onion, finely chopped
¼ inch ginger finely chopped
1 pinch turmeric (or curry paste which is what I used)
5 or so cherry tomatoes, quartered
a handful of cashew nuts
fresh coriander, chopped plus a sprig or two to garnish

~   Heat half the oil in a frying pan then fry the bread in it till turning crisp and golden. Set aside.
~   Add the second tablespoon of oil to the pan and the mustard seeds and wait till they start popping.
~   Stir in the onion and ginger and cook till they are starting to go translucent then add the chilli and the tomatoes.
~   When the tomatoes start to mush down stir in the turmeric and/or curry paste and cook together a minute or so.
~   Taste and season then stir in the bread, cashews and chopped coriander.

fried bread curry


4.     Melted Onion Panade – for 4


This is surprisingly lovely!  A kind of French onion soup / bread pudding cross! It is best made with more substantial bread rather than the soft stuff.

3 large onions
3 tbsp olive oil
350g good bread – thickly sliced
About 500ml good beef stock (or other if you prefer) – hot
200g grated cheese – I used Davidstow Cornish Crackler which is divine

~   Melt the onions in the olive oil and when utterly, utterly tender turn up the heat and stir till starting to caramelise.
~   Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Put the bread on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for a few minutes till dried out but not taking any colour.
~   Butter a shallow ovenproof dish and lay a third of the bread slices in it. Break them if necessary to fit in neatly.
~   Spread with half the onions and sprinkle with a third of the cheese.
~   Repeat these layers, using up all the onions, the final layer should be bread sprinkled with the last of the cheese.
~   Pour over the stock, adding just enough to lift the top layer of bread so it starts to float. Do this gently so the cheese stays in place!
~   Cover the dish with a sheet of foil and bake for 45 minutes then remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes or so till the cheese is golden and delicious looking, like this ...

onion panade recipe

5.     Curried Cashew Fritters


I invented this just after I wrote “The Leftovers Handbook”  which is a shame, I would have loved to have included it!
1 medium onion – diced
½ tbsp oil
1 tsp curry paste
120g stale bread – torn into pieces, spread out and left to dry out for an hour or so (or popped in the oven for a few minutes)
up to 125 ml hot vegetable stock
as many salted cashews as you fancy and can muster – coarsely chopped

~   Fry the onion in the oil till soft and turning brown.
~   Stir in the curry paste and cook a couple of minutes till fragrant.
~   Add the bread pieces and then gradually stir in the stock.  The bread should soak up all the stock and be completely soft but with no excess liquid in the pan so don’t add it all at once, take it slowly.
~   Remove the pan from the heat, cover, cool and then chill to firm up.
~   When ready to cook add 80g coarsely chopped salted cashews (don’t add them earlier as they seem to go soggy).
~   Divide into four little cakes and fry in a little oil till hot crisp and golden.
~   Serve with a dollop of yogurt or raita and a bit of salad.

bread fritter

6.     French Toast Pancakes


This is useful if you fancy French Toast but only have bitty scraps of bread, and in this case softer bread is best. Per person you need ...
1 egg
½ tbsp sugar
50ml milk or cream or a mixture
a drop of real vanilla extract
pinch of salt
40g ish of stale bread pieces

~   Whisk together all the ingredients except the bread.
~   Stir in the bread and allow to soak a few minutes.
~   Melt a little butter in a non-stick frying pan and using a slotted spoon carefully transfer the bread to the pan forming into two cakes.
~   Cook till the bottoms are firm and brown, turn very carefully and cook the other side.
~   Serve with maple syrup or whatever else takes your fancy.

French toast from bread scraps

7.     Apple Cribbly


A touch of nostalgia for me here – we served this dessert in our restaurants in Cornwall in the 1980s, it is either traditional Cornish or Cornish-ish, either way it is perfect with clotted cream.

You need about equal quantities of peeled and diced apple (this is one case where I don’t recommend Bramley apples; you want them to hold their shape) and diced stale bread, nothing too substantial in this case.

~   Toss the diced apple with sugar to coat, discard any that doesn’t stick.
~   Melt a knob of batter in a frying pan, add the sugary apple and cook, stirring occasionally till it is softening and browning and oozing lovely caramelly juices.
~   Use a slotted to spoon to remove the apple from the pan and set aside.
~   Add the diced bread to the pan and cook till the juices have been absorbed and the bread is turning crisp and golden.
~   Return the apple, toss all together and serve immediately with ice cream, cream or clotted cream.



The Leftovers Handbook - Suzy Bowler





If these are just a few of the suggestions I can think of for leftover bread  don't you wonder what ideas I have for the other 450 potential leftovers in my book The Leftovers Handbook?





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2 comments:

Charlotte Oates said...

I'm always amazed when I come to your blog, you have so many ideas and know so much. I'd never have thought of making mayonnaise with bread instead of egg yolks, and everything else is making me hungry!

Thanks so much for joining #FoodYearLinkup it's always so interesting to see what you've created.

Charlotte Oates said...

Have you seen the new #ClearOutEatUp linky over at Three Sons Later? You've got so many ideas I'm sure they'd love you to share over there.