On Wednesday night I texted my husband to ask him to pick up good bread on the way home — except I capitalized it, Good Bread, as if it were the name of a member of our family. And in a way, it is a member of our family, ever-present in our home and loved beyond what is rational or even explicable. We eat a lot of bread. We stock it in our freezer. We would miss it if it were gone.
Good Bread is often a centerpiece of our dinner, not a sidekick in a little basket. Either toasted or fresh, it may serve as a base on which other delicious elements are layered, or it could be used for dunking, sopping and soaking, three magic words in recipe-writing that hint at the presence of delicious broth or sauce. The recipes below do it both ways, and trust me, it was hard to narrow the choices down to five, such is my love of this meal format.
Note: Good Bread in this context is made by a human, not a machine. It usually has a firm crust. My preference is sourdough, which is undergoing a renaissance right now both at bakeries and among home bakers. But I would never refuse a strong baguette or fresh ciabatta, which is what my husband brought home. We took that ciabatta, spread it with fresh ricotta, and topped it with runny fried eggs, with snap peas on the side: the best. Tell me what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are five dishes for the week:
Look, you could serve this chicken with creamy potatoes, but I would serve it with bread: A craggy piece of toast would be the perfect tool for mopping up the extra chimichurri, the classic Argentinian herb-garlic sauce. It’d also save you a pot to clean, which means that once you’ve got a salad or green beans ready, dinner is done.
You’ve probably met avocado toast, tomato toast, maybe even cauliflower toast? Well, here is broccoli and pecorino toast, and it is exceptional. Scale this up for dinner (two heads of broccoli for four people is probably right) and top with fried or poached eggs. Unless you’re vegetarian, don’t skip the anchovies; they are an umami-delivery device, and will not taste fishy. (If you must, up the pecorino and add some Parm, too.) You could skip the chile flakes, though, and I just toast the bread in the toaster, no frying.
“Slow-roasted” here just means 25 minutes in the oven rather than 15, and in that time your salmon is luxuriating in a pool of fennel-chile oil that you then get to mop up with, yes, bread. If you use individual fillets, reduce the cook time slightly. I’d add some salad greens and lemon juice to the cucumbers to make it a full meal.
Many pasta dishes work well with good bread swapped in for the pasta. Bolognese on toast? Sublime. That rule even holds with spaghetti and meatballs in tomato sauce, one of the world’s great combos. (I used to serve a big pile of bread with meatballs when friends came over, as I didn’t have a pot that could comfortably fit two pounds of pasta.) You could make this recipe with turkey instead of pork; use the leftover ricotta to smear on toast alongside. Or garlic bread! Fierce move.
I’ve written about this recipe before, but I couldn’t not mention in it a newsletter devoted to bread: It’s too good. Make two of these spicy-savory-bubbling Mumbai-style toasts per hungry person, do not skimp on the Dijon or the cheese, and serve with a simple salad.
Sent with my apologies to those of you who don’t eat bread. Please go for it with gluten-free substitutions. Follow me on Instagram, and NYT Cooking on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. If you love NYT Cooking now, imagine how great it is to be a subscriber, with complete, unfettered access to our vast archive of outrageously good recipes. Previous newsletters are archived here. I’m email@example.com, and if you have any problems with your account, email firstname.lastname@example.org.