Food & Recipes

4 Recipes for Leftover Bread That Are Anything But Stale

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Good, fresh bread needs no recipe to transform it into a delicious meal. But once it’s been sitting for an extra day or two, a little more ingenuity may be needed to get the most out of it. Every bread-eating culture in the world has produced brilliant uses for bakery leftovers — like Italy’s panzanella or bruschetta, the United Kingdom’s bread-and-butter pudding, or Spain’s classic gazpacho. Here are a few of our favorite ways to make that special loaf go the extra mile.

Pappa al Pomodoro

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Pappa al Pomodoro

  1. Heat 4 ounces of olive oil in a frying pan over low-medium heat, then sauté 2 finely chopped white onions and 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves until very soft (10 minutes).
  2. Add in 35 ounces of coarsely chopped ripe Roma tomatoes,14 ounces of canned tomato polpa (available from select supermarkets and delicatessens, or substitute canned crushed tomatoes), 8 ounces of halved mixed cherry tomatoes, and 3 ounces of chicken stock. Season to taste, then simmer over medium heat until tomatoes begin to break down (20 to 25 minutes).
  3. Turn off the heat and add 14 ounces of diced day-old sourdough bread and a handful of torn basil.
  4. Serve topped with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Makes 6 servings.

Club Sandwich

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Clubhouse Sandwich

  1. Grill 4 chicken thigh fillets and 5 ounces of smokehouse-style bacon both brushed in a little oil in a char-grill pan until cooked through and charred (6-8 minutes). Slice chicken crossways and set aside.
  2. Toast 6 thin slices of sourdough bread in the bacon fat in the pan, turning occasionally, until golden and toasted.
  3. Combine 2 ounces of mayonnaise with 4 finely chopped cornichons and 3 tablespoons of thinly sliced basil.
  4. Add chicken, season to taste, then spoon onto 2 slices of toast.
  5. Season to taste, top with bacon and another slice of toast, then finish with thinly sliced Roma tomato and lettuce, and sandwich with remaining toast.

Makes 2 sandwiches.

chicken salad

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Parmesan-Crumbed Chicken, Fennel Salad, and Anchovies

  1. Process 10 ounces of day-old sourdough bread to coarse crumbs in a food processor. If bread isn’t dry enough to process well, bake in oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (8 to 10 minutes).
  2. Add 2 ounces of finely grated parmesan, stir to combine, and season to taste.
  3. Slice 3 chicken breasts diagonally into 8 thin pieces.
  4. Place crumbs and 2 lightly beaten eggs in separate bowls, then coat chicken slices first in egg, then in crumbs. Shake off excess and set aside.
  5. Heat 2 ounces of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat and fry half the chicken, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (3 to 4 minutes). Set aside on paper towels.
  6. Wipe out pan, add the same quantities of butter and olive oil to pan and repeat with remaining chicken.
  7. Combine 2 baby fennel bulbs thinly shaved on a mandolin with 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and juice of 1 lemon in a bowl, season to taste and serve scattered with extra parmesan and anchovy fillets to taste with the parmesan-crumbed chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

fig salad

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Fig and Bread Salad

  1. Combine ½ loaf of day-old sourdough bread, torn into bite-size pieces with 8 quartered figs, 1 torn buffalo mozzarella, 8 coarsely torn thin slices prosciutto, 2 thinly sliced golden shallots, rinsed (optional), and 2 cups basil leaves in a bowl.
  2. Whisk 2 ounces of chardonnay vinegar and 4 ounces of extra-virgin olive oil in a bowl. Pour over salad, season to taste, toss to combine, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Hot Tips

Bread freezes well, of course, but if you’re pressed for freezer space, consider whizzing it into breadcrumbs and freezing it sealed in bags, ready for use in toppings, puddings, and crusts.

For most of the recipes here we’ve used a country-style white sourdough loaf, but most types of bread will work. Good texture in the crumb is half the battle, so sliced white bread is usually less than ideal.

This post was originally written by Lisa Featherby. For more, check out our sister site, Gourmet Traveller.

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