Tag: Croutons

How to Use Up Stale Bread

Using Stale Bread | Serious Crust

Using Stale Bread | Serious Crust
Using Stale Bread | Serious Crust

We all do it. We buy a beautiful loaf of bread to eat with dinner, or to sop in egg custard for breakfast, and then, a few days later it’s looking rather sad. Maybe mildly shriveled, too crusty around the edges. And it doesn’t feel great, knowing that you have half a loaf of kind of inedible bread, knowing how chewy and perfect it was when it was fresh. But it is edible! You just have to have a few stale bread recipes in your back pocket. Here are some of mine:

Make breadcrumbs: Cut the crust off your bread and cut it into chunks, then throw them in the food processor till they’re the right consistency for you. You can either toast them now or throw them in a ziplock back in your fridge – for sooner use – or freezer – for later use. Pull them out later to top your favorite macaroni and cheese (I’m dying to try this one) or this chicken gratin (which I just made and was a big hit).

Ribollita: Stale bread soup may sound odd, but that’s what this is. I love this easy, throw-whatever-you’ve-got-in-the-pot soup. It’s a hearty, delicious meal for colder days.

Croutons: Cube your bread, toss it in some olive oil, and throw it on a sheet pan with a few cloves of smashed garlic and sprigs of thyme. Toast at roughly 350°F for about 8-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them to avoid burning.

Bread pudding: If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, cube your bread, soak it in eggs, sugar, milk, and spices, and bake it for an easy, rustic dessert.

Panzanella: A summertime recipe, panzanella is a great way to use up stale bread and the plethora of tomatoes you may have from your garden. Remove crusts and cube your bread, halve or dice your tomatoes, some cucumber, red onion if you want, and add some crumbled feta or ricotta salata. Top with torn basil and a simple balsamic or red wine vinaigrette.

French onion soup: Not only is French onion soup a great way to use stale bread, it’s also a great way to use any chicken or beef or vegetable stock you might have in the freezer. But let’s be honest, the best part of this soup is the cheesy toast floating on top, soaking up all that delicious broth.

Asparagus Salad with Prosciutto and Poached Eggs

Asparagus salad with croutons, prosciutto, and poached eggs

Asparagus salad with croutons, prosciutto, and poached eggs
Asparagus salad with croutons, prosciutto, and poached eggs

In the Ad Hoc cookbook (by Thomas Keller), there’s this delicious looking asparagus salad with croutons, prosciutto, and poached eggs. Sounds good, right? I don’t know about you, but I love all of those things. Jonah and I were in the mood for a light dinner, so we decided to make it the other night. The only problem? Neither of us had ever poached an egg before. It’s one of those things, like baking with yeast, that scared me even though it’s probably not actually that hard.

But I did it! And you can do it! I did! My first attempt was much more successful than my second attempt. After having some little egg bits in the pot from the first egg and then swishing it all around to create my whirlpool, the visibility was not so good, so I had trouble telling where my egg was in it’s cooking process. And then it broke when I removed it. Don’t worry, I made Jonah eat that one. Hahaha.

Fall Salad with Poached Eggs, Asparagus, and Proscuitto


2 eggs
1 bunch asparagus
olive oil
8 slices of prosciutto
Croutons (fresh! our grocery store has some really delicious ones made in house. please don’t buy those gross ones in the resealable bags. blech.)
balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper for finishing


Poached eggs

Put a few inches of water in it plus a dash of vinegar (white distilled, because that was the only kind I had that seemed reasonable), and started heating it. The important thing (it would seem, from my research) is to have the water hot enough but not so hot that it’s boiling or even simmering. Got that? No bubbles breaking the surface. While your water is heating, break your egg into a small bowl or ramekin. It’s good to not break the egg directly into the water because it gives you a little more control.

When the water is hot enough, take a wooden spoon or spatula (I would advise a spatula… I liked it better for helping the egg along later) and stir it so that it creates a nice little whirlpool. Pour your egg gently into the middle of the whirlpool. It will look, for a moment, like you’ve done something horribly wrong and this will never work and you’ll be asking yourself why you even tried in the first place. But just wait! After the egg has been in the water for about 30 seconds or so, you can start to help it along by nudging it with your spatula, pushing the bits together. After a minute or so, you may notice that your egg has stuck to the bottom of your pan. Gently slide your spatula underneath it to get it unstuck. I also liked to roll my egg over because the bottom of the pot is hotter (duh) and it helped it to cook a little more evenly. Now, after about 3-5 minutes, you should be done! Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and put it in one of 3 places: 1) an ice bath, and then reheat it in the pot of water when you’re ready to serve (Thomas Keller). 2) on a paper towel to dry a little bit (Smitten Kitchen). 3) If you are out of paper towels and don’t feel like preparing an ice bath and then reheating your eggs, a lint-free dishtowel (me).

Fall Salad

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Trim your asparagus, put on a baking sheet, and toss with olive oil and salt. Put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the asparagus is cooked to your liking (some people like it crunchy, some people like it soft). Note: Thomas Keller wanted us to grill our asparagus, but we don’t have a grill. Roasting it is a wonderful and winter-friendly alternative.

On a plate, arrange your asparagus, eggs, prosciutto, and croutons. Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil and vinegar.

This meal was delicious and light. I can see it being lovely for a summer dinner party. It’s fairly easy too, once you get the whole egg poaching thing down (I’m still working on that part). Enjoy!