Food Stuff

Illustration By Marianne Mancina

I have a weakness for crusty, artisan-style bread, but in a smallish household it presents a dilemma. Either you have to gorge yourself on bread to finish the loaf, or you end up with stale odds and ends around. Sometimes gorging is the way to go, but the latter case is actually a blessing in disguise, because it can lead to one of the best summer dinners of all time: bread salad. Anoint the bread with oil and rub it with garlic if you like, tear it into chunks, toast it (or, better yet, grill it) and combine it with whatever vegetables you like—just make sure some chopped ripe, juicy tomatoes are in the mix. The last version I made, from slightly stale levain, also had grilled artichokes (from a jar), little rounds of fresh mozzarella, basil leaves from my garden, sherry vinegar and a dousing of olive oil. As it turned out, we gorged ourselves after all.