31 March 2010

Forget the Birds: Awesome Recipes 4 Stale Bread

From Denny: Chef Jose Andres of a restaurant in Washington, D.C., shares with us some great ideas of what to do with leftover stale bread. Many times my husband has come home with his latest "grocery prize" of day or two old artisan bread for a great price - only to discover it's so tough it can't be sliced easily. Grating it into fresh bread crumbs is an easy solution. If you are patient you can close it up into a plastic storage bag and place it in the fridge, take it out the next day and see if the crust has softened enough to slice. Usually, it does and all is well at our house once again. :)

Chef Jose Andres offers up some favorite recipes for stale day old bread from his native Spain like Castilian Garlic Soup, a mushroom and ham saute and a dessert by the name of Apple Charlotte. Yum! Since my great-grandmother came from "southern" Spain and was a wonderful cook I just had to see what she might have cooked in her day when she lived in Spain. Check it out what you can do with stale bread for delicious, easy and inexpensive recipes:

Castilian Garlic Soup
Bread with oyster mushrooms and Spanish ham
Jaleo's Apple Charlotte

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Sopa de ajo (Castilian garlic soup)

From: Chef Jose Andres

4 servings

Chef Andres: Wherever I go in my travels, I find Spanish people who are proud they know how to make this traditional Castilian dish, no matter which region they come from. My good friend Magin Revillo, the Washington correspondent for Radio Nacional de España (Spanish national radio), makes one of the finest garlic soups I ever tasted — even though he grew up in Barcelona.


• 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
• 3 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons white wine
• 1/2 tablespoon pimentón (Spanish sweet paprika)
• 6 ounces rustic white bread, crust removed, torn into small pieces
• 1 quart chicken stock (see page 000)
• 2 large eggs
• Salt to taste
• 1 tablespoon chopped flat parsley


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sauté the garlic in the olive oil until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the white wine and continue cooking until the alcohol evaporates, about 30 seconds. Add the pimentón and sauté for 1 minute.

Add the bread and pour in the stock. Stir together and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the eggs and stir with a spatula to fold them into the soup. The eggs will form long strands, almost like noodles. Simmer for 2 more minutes and add salt to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

You can make this soup with water if you like. It's the traditional way but I find that chicken stock makes for a richer and tastier soup. Instead of adding the whisked eggs, you can poach a whole egg per person: just break the eggs into a barely simmering soup and leave them for 2 or 3 minutes without disturbing.

Bread with oyster mushrooms and Spanish ham

From: Chef Jose Andres

4 servings

Chef Andres: There are many different versions of migas, a dish that has sustained many a Spanish family when food was scarce. I often talk about recipes made of humble ingredients that can feed an entire family, and this is a perfect example. It shows what can be done when leftovers are the only option. Over the years many of these survival dishes have become beloved delicacies. I love this one for its simplicity and intense flavor.


• 1 medium banana pepper
• 4 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon minced shallots
• 2 cups oyster mushrooms or saffron milk cap mushrooms (available in autumn)
• 2 fresh thyme sprigs
• 1 ounce thinly sliced jamón serrano
• 1/4 cup seedless red grapes, halved
• 1 12-inch day-old baguette, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
• Sea salt to taste


Preheat the broiler. Roast the pepper under the broiler, turning it as it browns. Transfer the pepper to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and steam for 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the pepper, discard the skin and remove the seeds. Slice the pepper into ½-inch strips and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and the thyme and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the jamón and peppers and cook for 1 minute. Lay the bread slices on top of the mixture and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Stir the bread into the mixture and fry in the pan until it gets brown and slightly crunchy. Toss in the grapes and cook until heated through. Season to taste with salt.

Use day-old bread for this dish. You will get a better crunch.

Jaleo's Apple Charlotte

From: Chef Jose Andres

Makes 12


• 7 apples (Fuji or another good baking apple), peeled, cored and sliced thin
• 1 cup sugar
• 4 tablespoons of butter
• 2 tablespoons of Rhum
• 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
• 2 beaten egg yolks
• For the crust
• Butter
• Half a loaf of brioche bread, cut half into 1/4" cubes and the rest into slices as 1/4" thick


In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the apples with sugar until soft. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer until apples are soft saucy consistency. Add butter, rum and vanilla. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and cool. Once cool, mix in the beaten egg yolks. Reserve

Clarify the butter. Toast the bread cubes in the clarified until golden and crisp. Reserve.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In each ramekin, place crisped squares on the bottom. Dip the brioche slices in the clarified butter and line the sides of the ramekins. Fill with the apple mixture. Place the ramekins in a baking pan. Fill the pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the ramekins. Bake for 35 minutes turning the pan once during baking to ensure even browning.

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