Kitchen experiment

Some ideas are worth following through.

Pesto bread, fresh from the oven. —Connie Berry

Have you ever had too much bread lying around, and you’re not sure about freezing it? I found myself with that good problem last week, when we had two loaves of ciabatta that someone had given us, and I didn’t want any of it to go to waste. And I could think of a million things I wanted to do with it that would make it a decadent treat to go with dinner. Maybe the bread itself could be dinner. So I set out to make something new. Pesto Bread with Mozzarella. There are a couple of things I would do differently next time, but the bread was still a hit. (And to think I was making a nice, healthy salad before I had an aha moment featuring carbs and fat.)

First I had to manage to slice it in half evenly with a long, serrated bread knife — that was the most difficult part. I had a good amount of pesto in the fridge, and I always have shredded cheese on hand. I spread pesto on both halves of the ciabatta, and then put a handful of the cheese on top of what would be the bottom half of this pesto sammy. I put the “lid” on the loaf, and then wrapped it up in aluminum foil, put it on a baking sheet in a 350° oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, until I was sure it was warmed through and the cheese was melted. Then I just sliced it up to go with a hearty salad we were having. Everyone wanted more bread, and less salad.

When we’re experimenting in the kitchen, there’s almost always something I would do differently the next time I make it. With this Pesto Bread, I think some thin-sliced tomato would’ve been a good addition. And the next time, I’m going to wrap it and then put some weight on it so that it’s smashed a bit, then I’ll put it in the oven. I’m toying with the idea of brushing the top with melted butter for the last few minutes in the oven. By the time I’m through testing out different methods, I have a feeling this bread-with-dinner will turn into an entrée.