stale bread

Easy Does It # 35 – Torrejas

Torrejas

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Like most groups of lovers of traditional, old and beloved dishes, Torrejas have their fans divided into two main parts: on one side of the fence you’ll find the traditionalist’s, who don’t want to change a thing and believe that only the original recipe and ingredients are worthy of  their love, and, on the other side of the fence, the folks who believe that nowadays we have access to better and more varied ingredients and therefore should try to improve recipes whenever possible, as long as the character of a dish is respected.
I personally respect both sides, depending on the dish involved. However, when it comes to Torrejas, I am a big fan of improving the original, which is just stale bread, dipped in milk or wine, then dipped in whole whisked eggs, sautéed and finally sprinkled with sugar. While there is nothing at all wrong with that, I believe you can agree that the version on this page outshines those simple, traditional Torrejas by a mile. (I can imagine the steadfast traditionalist’s reaching for their cannons right now……. 🙂
But anyway, don’t knock it until you try it. I am sure you too will become a convert, at least as far as Torrejas are concerned.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for an easy Cranberry/Pecan-Bread Recipe
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Click here for more  “Easy Does It”  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Pan Perdu (Arme Ritter) (French Toast)  on  ChefsOpinion

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Torrejas

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Torrejas

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Torrejas

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Torrejas

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chops

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If  you never tried  Panzanella, chances are that a dish using stale bread is on the bottom of your “must try this” list.
After all, nowadays stale bread is usually used either for bread pudding, bread dumplings, or, most likely of all – thrown into the garbage bin.
Now, I have to admit that most bread you can buy is best thrown away after a few days, since it was nothing special to begin with. But if you are a fan of really good bread, it would pain you to throw away some of it just because it has survived a few more days than usual and has become a bit stale. If this happens in my kitchen, I usually slice the bread thick and grill it, which will revive it beautifully and will give a loaf at least another 4 days of good use.
Or, surprise surprise – I’ll make  Panzanella.
The first written recipe for  Panzanella dates to the 15th century. Originally, stale bread was soaked in water, onions added, then dressed with olive oil, salt and vinegar. This eventually morphed into the modern  Panzanella through the addition of cucumbers and, later-on, tomatoes.
Later still, lettuce, olives, mozzarella, white wine, capers, anchovies, celery, carrots, red wine, red onion, cucumber, tuna, parsley, boiled eggs, mint, bell peppers, lemon juice, and garlic were sometimes added, although traditionalists still prefer the simple version of soaked bread, onions, olive oil, salt, tomatoes and sometimes fresh basil.
If I prepare  Panzanella as a main dish, I usually add boiled eggs, anchovy fillets, capers, garlic paste, roasted marinated peppers and lots of chives and fresh basil and oregano. I don’t soak my Panzanella  in water but rather in a generous amount of dressing of good olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes before I dig into it, by which time the dressing has been soaked up by the bread. Usually, I over-eat on this stuff because once I start, I can’t stop until it’s all gone 😦 🙂
However, since I had grilled pork chops with this one, I kept it simple and used only bread, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil and dressing. What a wonderful meal this was…….
So, I hope that next time you have some good, rustic bread which has seen better days, you will give this delicious dish a try 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

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Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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