Suzi's Blog

Tartine Stale Bread Soup

I pride myself on my baking. It has only taken, what, about twenty years to get good at it. But I bake bread and it is very, very good bread. I bring it to every dinner party Brian and I go to, and each hostess is delighted to serve it, warmed with butter on the side.

I’m probably one of the few people to keep 100+ pounds of different flours in bins in my basement, but I do. On weekends, when I go upstate to relax, Brian often says to me, “Take it easy today.”

“I am,” I tell him. He smiles because by early afternoon it is too late. I’m pretty well dusted with flour and the countertops have a dozen loaves in various states of rising, falling, doubling, or cooling. Our house smells like a bakery. I love it.

Of course, I’m never content. I’m always looking for new flours, new recipes, new ideas. When I found the new Tartine Bread I realized I had struck gold. If you love baking bread, then this book is must for you. I travel with it back and forth, read it, study it, and I eat the results.

Day old bread? Here’s a very authentic, hearty recipe for you. When most of the population lived off the land and not in cities, a farming family’s big meal needed to be lunch. Workers needed sustenance, for recovery from that  morning of labor and carrying forward until the sun set and cows came home. Literally.

The simplest forms of this recipe use onions fried in oil or goose fat and then poured over stale bread, topped with a fried egg seasoned with vinegar. This production is richer, using stock and more vegetables to craft a full meal.

You’ll love this soup. You need Tartine Bread. The beautiful bread picture below is one of the Tartine recipes I tried with their superb techniques. I’ll be writing about the recipes and the techniques in posts to come.

Le Tourin: A Sustenance Soup

Yield: 2 very large servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or rendered duck or chicken fat, plus ¼ cup
  • 1 bunch young carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into quarters
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed
  • 1 quart rich chicken stock
  • 2 large eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Red wine vinegar
  • 3 slices day-old whole wheat or country bread torn into chunks

 

Preparation:

Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and warm the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the carrots and onion quarters, cut-side down. Reduce the heat to medium and cook without stirring until slightly caramelized, 5 to 8 minutes.

Turn the vegetables, being sure to cook the second cut sides of the onion quarters. Cook until caramelized, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the kale and the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Heat a small omelet pan over high heat. Add the ¼ cup olive oil. When the oil is shimmering but not yet smoking, crack the eggs into the pan without breaking the yolks. Fry for about ½ minutes, carefully spooning some of the hot oil over the eggs to help cook the tops. Carefully pour off the excess oil. Season the eggs with salt, pepper, and vinegar.

Set the torn bread and vegetables in heatproof bowls. Pour the hot stock over the bread and vegetables. Top with the fried eggs and serve.

 

Source: Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson

Shrimp Bisque

Yes, it’s the same picture as the previous post. But that post only talked about the great shrimp bisque. Here’s the recipe.
This bisque is not just good. It is a head turner. It was one of the first things we made with our new Vitamix blenders. Vitamix? Every had a Jamba Juice where they have the machines that sound like wind tunnels. We have them now. To call them a blender is to call a Porsche an automobile.

There is a step below in the preparation where you do need use a blender. If you don’t have a Vitamix, then you really need to blend away and do the sieving to achieve the velvet texture this recipe deserves.

Naturally, you play with the ingredients to get more tomato flavor or heat. You can adorn the finished bisque with crème fraîche, or sour cream. But I think the first time out, you want to just sample the incredible purity of the bisque flavor. It’s certain to become a favorite of yours. It’s a great for the cold weather that has finally arrived, and its elegance would be perfect for a holiday party.

Shrimp Bisque

Yield: 8 cups, generous for 8 people

Ingredients:

• 1¼ pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, shell reserved
• ½ stick unsalted butter
• ½ cup dry white wine
• 2 quarts water
• 1 bay leaf
• 3 carrots, chopped
• 2 celery ribs, chopped
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 tablespoons long-grain rice
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 teaspoon salt
• ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
• Fresh lemon juice
• Chopped fresh chives

Preparation:

Cook shrimp shells in 1 tablespoon butter in a large stock pot over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until golden. Add white wine and boil, stirring frequently, until most of liquid is evaporated. Add water and bay leaf and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Pour shrimp stock through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on shells and then discarding them.
While stock is simmering, cook shrimp with salt to taste in 1 tablespoon butter in a large heavy pot over moderated heat, stirring frequently, until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoon butter to pot, then cook carrots, celery, and onion over moderate heat, stirring, until softened.
Stir in rice, tomato paste, cayenne, salt, shrimp stock, and brandy and simmer, covered, until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside 12 shrimp and stir remainder into bisque.
Purée bisque in batches in a blender, then pour through fine sieve into another pot. Stir in cream and cook over low heat until heated through, do not boil. Stir in lemon juice and salt to taste.
Cut reserved shrimp into ¼-inch dice, then use as part of garnish for bisque.

Source: Gourmet Magazine [may it rest in peace]