I feel we are able to all agree that, as a rule, a bowl of soup, a hearty stew, or a saucy braise is barely improved by the addition of bread. Generally that’s a hunk of freshly baked baguette. Different instances a buttery dinner roll. Bread is the workers of life, as they are saying.
However recently it appears like that phrase ought to be amended to “fried bread is the workers of life.” In all places I look any person (myself included) is frying a thick slice of sourdough bread in a slick of olive oil till crunchy and golden brown on one facet, smooth and doughy on the opposite, and serving it alongside any saucy concoction worthy of soaking. When you’re not a type of individuals, I urge you to change into one. Instantly. Fried bread for all times.
However, as I not too long ago found, fried bread is just not essentially the end-all, be-all of carb-on-soup conditions. In the future not too long ago, whereas engaged on a Mainly recipe for ribollita—a thicccc Tuscan vegetable, bean, and bread stew—it occurred to me that there could the truth is be a future past fried bread. Don’t get me flawed: I really like the stuff. However maybe the lone slice of fried bread, using shotgun normally, might take middle stage. An exploration appeared so as, and that already-bready ribollita appeared like the right place to begin.
Historically, Ribollita is made thick and hearty by cooking leftover stale bread instantly right into a broth-y mixture of stewed tomatoes, beans, and different veggies. The bread falls aside and enriches the soup, including stick-to-your-bones physique to the ultimate dish. I like that concept—bread as stew thickening agent. However I used to be lacking the crispity-crunchity high quality that fried bread lends, and I didn’t see any purpose why I ought to have to decide on one or the opposite.
Thus, the idea of torn-croutons-baked-directly-into-the-top-of-a-soup was born. As soon as my wonderful, soggy bread-enriched ribollita was nearly completed, I coated your entire floor of the stew with irregularly-shaped hunks of crusty sourdough bread and drizzled pleeeeenty of excellent olive oil overtop. Then I popped the entire Dutch oven right into a 450° oven till the the stew was thick and burbling, the tops of these craggy croutons had been deeply golden and crisp, and the undersides had been soaked in thick tomato-y deliciousness. It was the very best of each worlds—super-crunchy and soggy-rich on the similar time—and I did not even have to soiled one other skillet or sheet pan to make it occur. Now that is residing!
Even higher? This similar approach might be utilized to actually something stewy and thick sufficient to assist the bread. Beef stew. Creamy tomato soup. Minestrone. Lentil soup. Cut up pea. The crout’-on-soup potentialities are actually countless.
So go on: Crack into that crust prefer it’s a savory crème brûlée, and inform me you’d somewhat eat common ol’ fried bread on the facet.
Go forth and bake croutons proper the hell into your soup: