Here is a three-ingredient dessert (pudding!) my British father’s family served after every summer dinner we spent together: fresh berries + sugar + cream. There always was a wedge or two of cheese — often Stilton and Wensleydale — on the table as well, but as a child, all I cared about was the berries...
Kate Shultz, of the Dinner Sisters podcast, recently asked me if there were any recipes in Bread Toast Crumbs I wished had gotten a little more love. These vinaigrette toasts with soft-boiled eggs immediately came to mind. I’m not sure I’ve heard from anyone who has made them — maybe no one has! — but I’m hoping this post might encourage someone to give them a go.
In short, you soak slices of bread in both olive oil AND vinegar before toasting them in a skillet and finishing them in the oven. While the slices of bread bronze away, you boil some eggs, and, if you’re up for it, dress some greens to serve on the side. It’s fast and tasty and feels complete.
Friends, have you ever soaked your bread in both olive oil and vinegar before toasting it? Every time I do I think: Why don’t we always soak bread in both oil and vinegar before toasting? The vinegar adds a subtle sweetness and sharpness, and the slices of bread toast so beautifully. I hope you love them as much as I do.
The Dinner Sisters Podcast
Two sisters, Kate Shultz and Betsy Wallace, believe in “less stress, better food,” and every Monday on their podcast, The Dinner Sisters, they review easy-to-make recipes they’ve unearthed from food blogs around the web.
Their goal? To find and share recipes that might make it into their regular dinner rotations. For instance, they raved about the orecchiette with corn, greens, and ricotta in this Easy Cooking Summer episode and the bbq chicken naan pizza in this Rotisserie Chicken episode. I’m dying to make both.
Friends, do you listen to The Dinner Sisters? They’re really fun. Every ten episodes they throw a podcast “dinner party” and cook up a full party menu, including dessert. In their mini-episode series, “Pro Tips,” they quickly cover topics such as roasting chickens or meal planning or their favorite freezer jam.
And they also occasionally review cookbooks, like Bread Toast Crumbs. After their review, Kate and I chat about early baking memories, these vinaigrette toasts, future projects, sourdough, and more. You can listen to that episode here. And check out their full archives here. Let me know if you discover any gems!
Here’s the vinaigrette toast play-by-play. Slice up a loaf of bread (more on this sourdough loaf soon):
Whisk together 3 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons vinegar in a baking dish.
Soak your bread slices for one minute per side.
Toast the slices of bread in an oven-safe skillet.
Transfer toast to a plate.
Top each with a soft-boiled egg (6 minutes for super runny yolks).
Cut each egg in half.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with a simple salad: greens + shallot vinaigrette.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Bring a small saucepan filled with water to a boil over high heat. In a 9×13-inch (or similar) baking dish, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the vinegar. Lay the slices of bread in the pan, let them sit for one minute, then flip and let them sit for another minute or until the oil and vinegar are absorbed.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. When it shimmers, carefully lower the bread into pan. Cook, checking occasionally, until the underside of the bread is golden, about 5 minutes. Flip the slices and immediately transfer the pan to the oven for five minutes or until the slices are evenly golden.
Meanwhile, carefully lower the eggs into the boiling water and reduce the heat to low so that the water is gently simmering. Cook for 6 minutes, or according to your preference — 6 minutes is for runny yolks as pictured above. Remove the eggs with slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of cold water.
To serve, set toast on individual plates or a serving platter. Peel eggs and place one on top of each piece of toast. Cut each in half. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
How to Wrap Parchment Paper for Fish En Papillote - YouTube
** I originally posted this recipe in July of 2008 but I’m republishing it today with a few notes added. **
I love fish, but it can be tricky to cook — so easily overcooked — and it cools down quickly. Cooking fish en papillote solves both of these problems.
If you’ve never given it a go, rest assured it is a nearly foolproof way of cooking fish and super easy, too: I added a video above of the parchment paper folding method, and if you want more video guidance, I recently made fish en papillote on Instagram Stories.
The Beauty of Cooking Fish En Papillote
Heat Retention. When cooked en papillote, a fish fillet retains its heat remarkably well. These packages somehow manage to keep the fish fillets hot without drying them out one bit.
Ability to Make Ahead. The packets can be prepared ahead of time — perfect for entertaining. Note: Because of the lemon juice and the salt, these packets should not be assembled for more than two or three hours ahead of time.
Versatility. Fill the packages with whatever you like: squash, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, scallions, herbs, etc. Be sure to slice vegetables thinly to ensure they cook during the 10 minutes of oven time. Use any number of fish — branzino, trout, striped bass, red snapper are all good options. A good rule of them is: 10 minutes at 500ºF for every 1/2-inch of filet thickness.
Healthy. You can load these packages with vegetables, and season everything lightly with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. The package keeps all of the juices released by the fish and vegetables inside, creating a steaming hot, tender, flaky package of goodness.
Fast. These little parcels are quick to assemble and are nearly one-pouch wonders.
Foolproof: I am always amazed by how well fish cooks when given the en papillote treatment — it’s never overcooked.
Note: I should have sliced the asparagus much more thinly or used my peeler to shave the spears. I’ve used finely slivered snow peas with success, too.
What’s nice about these packages is that you can assemble them ahead of time. Note: Because of the salt and lemon, I wouldn’t assemble much more than 2 hours ahead of time.
Use the recipe below as a guide. I always include: some sort of green like Swiss chard or spinach, shallots, olives, capers, olive oil, lemon, white wine, salt, and pepper. Vegetables change depending on the season: cherry tomatoes are nice as is summer squash. Be sure to cut vegetables thinly to ensure they cook properly. If you include asparagus, I recommend shaving it with a peeler as opposed to slicing it (as I did in this Instagram Story.)
4 18×13-inch (approximately) pieces parchment paper
about 16 leaves Swiss chard or Spinach, washed and dried
4 6-oz fish fillets of white fish such as Bronzino or Striped Bass
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
2 tablespoons capers
2 to 3 lemons: you’ll need 12 thin slices, plus more for squeezing
½ cup Nicoise or Kalamata olives, pitted, optional
1 cup cherry tomatoes, optional
1 cup sliced zucchini, optional
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine or Prosecco
sliced basil, parsley or tarragon, optional
Preheat the oven to 500ºF.
Lay one sheet of parchment paper on the counter and fold it in half lengthwise just to make a crease. Open the parchment paper. Place about four leaves of Swiss chard or spinach in the center of the parchment paper just below the centerfold. Top with fish fillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with about a tablespoon of shallots and 1.5 teaspoons capers. Squeeze some lemon over the fish. Nestle three slices of lemon on the sides of the fish. Sprinkle some olives, tomatoes, and zucchini (if using) around the fish. Top with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon white wine.
Fold top half of paper over bottom half and begin folding tightly from the center to one of the sides. Go back to the center and fold tightly in the opposite direction. (See video for more assistance.)
Repeat with each fish. Place packages on a cookie sheet and cook for 10 minutes. (Estimate about 10 minutes per inch — if the fillets are a little bit thicker than one inch, add 1 or 2 minutes.)
How to Wrap Parchment Paper for Fish En Papillote - YouTube
Black lentils cook quickly, hold their shape, and have a nice texture and flavor. They behave very similarly to French green lentils but perhaps cook a little more quickly. Why am I only just learning about them?
I bought them on a whim, and when I saw this black lentils with spinach recipe in Stacy Adimando’s Piatti, which looked super simple and delicious — a plump ball of burrata garnishes the plate of lentils in the accompanying photograph — I went for it.
I first made the lentils for my parents who were visiting, and as I noted last week, they returned home and continued making them. I have been, too. This has become one of my favorite weeknight meals.
In short you:
sauté an onion
combine the lentils and onion
fold in greens
serve with something creamy
I’ve mostly been using, as suggested, tender baby spinach, but I’ve also used beet greens (and roasted beets). I think any number of greens could work here: Swiss chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, etc.
Stacy likes to serve these lentils with burrata, which makes sense — the texture and sharpness of the lentils balances out the creaminess of the burrata. When I made these for my parents a few weeks ago, I did in fact use burrata, but I’ve since been serving them with labneh, another ingredient I am loving and only just discovering.
I haven’t tried, but I image fresh ricotta, Greek yogurt, or goat cheese (maybe thinned with milk to make it more spreadable) would all be delicious here. And this may sound odd, but I think even a smear of cream cheese could work — labneh tastes like a richer, creamier cream cheese.
Once you make this dish once, you’ll find countless ways to adapt it with various greens, vegetables, and creamy smear. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients.
Simmer the lentils in one pot; sauté an onion in another.
When the lentils are finished, add some vinegar to the onions and let it reduce.
Adapted from Stacy Adimando’s Piatti, a cookbook all about plates and platters for sharing inspired by Italy, which I am loving: A few weeks ago I wrote about this shaved fennel and avocado salad from the same book.
Scale this recipe up as needed. I find a half cup of lentils feeds two of us and leaves us with a teensy bit of leftovers. One cup of lentils would feed 4 people comfortably.
Before making this recipe, I had never cooked or eaten black lentils. I am really loving them. Similar to French green lentils, black lentils hold their shape and have a nice flavor and texture. They cook relatively quickly, too — 22 to 25 minutes — but times will vary so check the package for timing notes and taste the lentils as early as 15 minutes after you start cooking them.
Labneh or burrata: The original recipe calls for burrata, which of course is delicious. I am loving using labneh here, but if you can’t find it, you could use Greek yogurt, fresh ricotta, or even goat cheese whipped with some milk to thin to a spreadable consistency.
This dish comes together super quickly, but here are a few things I have been doing to get ahead:
Put the lentils in a pot, bring it to a simmer, cover the pot and slide the pot off the heat. I’ll do this before we head out to afternoon activities with the kids. When I get home, the lentils are nearly cooked; I just need to bring to a simmer and cook briefly.
Sauté the onion ahead of time and just leave it in its pan on the stovetop.
You can make nearly the entire recipe ahead of time, too. If you want to do this, make it up until the point when you add the spinach. Hold the spinach till you are ready to reheat the lentils. Once they are warm, fold in the spinach.
1/2 cup black lentils (or French green lentils)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
5 ounces baby spinach
labneh (to taste) or burrata (one 8-oz ball) for serving, see notes above
flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for finishing
Place the lentils in a small pot and cover with water by at least an inch. Add a teaspoon of kosher salt. Bring to a simmer. Simmer till done. Times will vary considerably. My black lentils have been cooking consistently in about 23-25 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir. Cover the pan and immediately turn the heat to low. I like to cook the onions super slowly for the entire time the lentils are cooking. Open the lid to check on the onions periodically, allowing any water trapped in the lid to drip back into the pan.
When the lentils are done, remove the lid from the onion pan and turn heat to medium. Add the vinegar and cook until it reduces and becomes almost syrupy. Add the lentils and stir to combine. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt, then turn off the heat. Leave the spinach alone for a minute or two, then use tongs to incorporate the leaves into the lentils. Taste. Adjust with sea salt as needed or a splash more vinegar if necessary.
To serve, smear some labneh across a plate. Spoon the warm spinach and lentils over top. Alternatively, if using burrata, break up the ball of burrata and drop spoonfuls of the creamy cheese over top.
Say hello to your new favorite party trick: 4-ingredient balsamic-roasted mini peppers. The beauty of this pepper recipe is that you don’t have to do any prep — no stemming, no seeding, no peeling. You simply dress, roast, and serve.
It’s kind of a miracle.
My mother, who learned this recipe from cousin Kristina, makes these often for company, and I’m telling you, you soon will be, too.
Let me sing their praises a little bit more:
The Magic of Balsamic-Roasted Mini Peppers
Fewer than 5 minutes of prep.
Delicious flavor: charred and sweet with the right amount of sharpness thanks to the balsamic.
Versatile: They can be served as a side dish or as an hors d’oeuvre.
Amenable: They can be served piping hot or at room temperature.
Juicy. As they collapse, they release juices that mingle with the olive oil and balsamic and unite to form an incredibly tasty sauce, which you can sop up with bread or use to dress other things — I really love serving these peppers aside black lentils (link soon) and spooning the two together as I eat.
Let me know if you make them or if YOU have any party tricks up your sleeve.
Here’s the play-by-play: Place peppers in a 9×13-inch pan or similar dish.
Dress them with olive oil, balsamic, and salt.
Roast until blistered and collapsed to your liking.
Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Serve as a side dish or as an hors d’oeuvre with bread and cheese.
This is a recipe my mother has been making for years, and something she often makes for company because it is always well received. She learned about it from cousin Kristina, another source of all good things.
Regarding the pan: A sheet pan is not recommended because the balsamic will reduce too quickly and burn. You want to use a pan that will fit the peppers snuggly. I find a 9×13-inch pan to be perfect for 1.5 lbs. of mini peppers, but something a little bit larger or slightly smaller will work well, too.
1.5 lbs. mixed baby peppers
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Heat the oven to 450ºF convection. (If you don’t have convection, don’t worry — your peppers may just take a little bit longer.) Place peppers in a 9×13-inch pan or something similar, see notes above (a sheet pan is not recommended). Season with salt, olive oil, and balsamic and toss to coat.
Transfer pan to the oven and cook for 15 to 25 minutes. Start checking at the 15 minute mark — every oven is different, and depending on the pan you are using the peppers may need more or less time. Remove the peppers when they look blistered to your liking — they shouldn’t be charred the way peppers look when you want to roast and peel them, but they should have some nice dark spots, and they should look wrinkly and slightly collapsed — they’ll collapse more once you remove them from the oven.
Remove peppers from the oven and transfer them and all of their juices to a serving platter. Taste one. Sprinkle with more flaky seas salt (or other) if desired. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Category: Side Dish
Keywords: peppers, mini, balsamic, roasted, summer, side dish, hors d'oeuvre
A dream to create a breakfast sandwich for a crowd made entirely on a sheet pan (or three) led to this sandwich. It’s sheet pan eggs meet sheet pan focaccia meets sheet pan bacon. Together, along with some greens, the three unite to make an ultimate breakfast slab sandwich to feed a crowd.
Real talk: This is a bit of an undertaking.
BUT with a bit of planning, you can pull it off. How much fun would this be for a Father’s Day or graduation brunch?
Breakfast Slab Sandwich Game Plan
Mix your focaccia dough on Saturday evening after dinner.
On Sunday morning, remove the dough from the fridge (no later than 7 am) to allow it to make its second rise.
While the focaccia rises, cook the bacon.
When the focaccia is ready (2 to 4 hours after it has been removed from the fridge), dimple it and bake it.
While it cools, bake the eggs.
When the eggs are done, the focaccia will have rested long enough to be halved and layered with all the goodness.
Once all the components are ready, assembly is fast and fun. You can do it!
PS: FREE Bacon for life. Learn more here. [Affiliate link; offer ends July 7th]
This is sheet pan focaccia meets sheet pan eggs meet sheet pan bacon. I wrote about this for Food52 a few years ago. You can read more about it here.
Plan ahead: If you are making this for Father’s Day, start your dough Saturday evening. Pull it out first thing Sunday morning to let it make it’s second rise. Count on 4 to 5 hours from when you pull it from the fridge to when it will be ready to be served. So if you pull it out at 6 am, you could potentially have breakfast sandwiches by 10 or 11am.
While the focaccia is rising, you can cook the bacon. While the focaccia cools (post baking), make the eggs.
4 cups (512 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups lukewarm water, made by mixing 1/2 cup boiling water with 1 1/2 cups cold water
4 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 pounds bacon
kosher salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces grated Cheddar cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cups finely chopped chives
hot sauce, mayonnaise, and other condiments for serving
Make the focaccia: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and instant yeast. Add the water. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the water is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky dough ball.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set inside your refrigerator.
The following morning (or 8 to 10 hours later), remove the bowl from the fridge. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or coat with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 3 tablespoons oil on the sheet pan. Using two forks, deflate the dough by releasing it from the sides of the bowl and pulling it toward the center. Rotate the bowl in quarter turns as you deflate, turning the mass into a rough ball. Use the forks to lift the dough onto the prepared sheet pan. Roll the dough ball in the oil to coat it all over. Let it rest without touching it for 2 to 4 hours (depending on the temperature of your kitchen).
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 425°F. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the surface of the dough. With lightly greased hands, press down on the dough, using all 10 fingers to dimple and gently stretch the dough outward. Pull gently on the ends and stretch them toward the corners of the sheet pan. When the dough begins to resist being stretched, let it rest for 5 minutes, then stretch it again, continuing until it fits most of the sheet pan.
Dimple lightly again. Sprinkle all over with sea salt. Transfer the sheet pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the underside is golden and crisp. Remove the pan from the oven, and transfer the focaccia to a cooling rack. Let it cool for at least an hour before cutting.
To cut the focaccia for the slab sandwich, trim off the very outer edges—this exposes the crumb, which makes it easier to halve. I like to start the halving process by cutting through each corner, then running the serrated knife through the short end until I get to the midway point, then starting from the other short end until I get to the midway point. A sharp, serrated knife is helpful. Try to keep your knife as parallel to the bread as possible, and I find if I hug the top layer as opposed to aiming for the center, I get a more even cut.
Make the Egg Sandwich. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Lay the bacon on a sheet pan. You will likely have to overlap pieces and lay pieces on top of one another to start, but don’t worry, they will shrink. Cook 10 minutes, remove pan from oven, and, using forks, spread out/separate the slices of bacon. Return pan to the oven, and cook for 10 to 15 more minutes or until the slices are looking crispy. Remove pan from the oven and transfer crisp slices to a paper-towel lined plate. If necessary, drain off some of the fat, and return the pan to the oven one last time to crisp up the remaining pieces. Transfer bacon to plate.
Turn oven off to let it cool down faster. You can leave the door open, too, to expedite the cooling. You need it to be at 300ºF. Grease a half sheet pan (I use a cheap, nonstick Baker’s Secret sheet pan purchased from a grocery store—it measures 11×16.5 inches) very well with butter. Crack all 12 eggs in a big bowl, add salt and pepper and the splash of cream, then whisk until well combined. Add the chives, and gently fold until mixed. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with cheese evenly. Bake until the eggs are just set, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the bottom half of the focaccia slab onto a cutting board. When the eggs have cooked, use an offset spatula to loosen them from the pan, then transfer to the bread. Trim off any excess, overhanging eggs. Lay the bacon on top. Scatter the lettuce on top. Top with the top half of bread. Cut the sandwich into 12 pieces (2 cuts through the short end; 3 cuts through the long end). Serve with hot sauce, mayonnaise and any other condiments you like.
Method: Sheet Pan
Keywords: breakfast, slab, sandwich, bacon, egg, cheese, sheet pan
Asparagus and ramps. Blueberries and rhubarb. Fennel and radishes. Baby chard and snap peas.
Spring! It’s almost over. How?
Until about two days ago I was living in my wool hat, sweater, and slippers (in my very cold house at least). But the warmth, it seems, has finally arrived upstate. Here are 16 recipes to make before spring ends.
Sarah Copeland, author of The Newly Wed Cookbook and Feast, has a new book out: Every Day is Saturday. It’s filled with recipes and strategies for cooking every day of the week, the goal being to keep that weekend-cook mentality going strong all week long.
I have made one and only one recipe, but it’s a good one: The Only Green Sauce You Need.
It’s a mix of herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and something with body: avocado, miso, nuts or tahini. I went the avocado route and took Sarah’s suggestion to smear if over toast, which I then topped with a 7-minute egg and sea salt. No regrets.
I’ve since used it another toast with sliced, mashed avocado — avocado on avocado is never a bad thing, right? I’ve also smeared it over — wait for it — more toast, which I then topped with salted cucumber ribbons and dukkah (see below).
But the uses for this sauce extend far beyond toast ..
How To Use This All-Purpose Green Sauce
Use this green sauce as…
… a dip for veggies.
… a spread in sandwiches.
… a sauce for grilled fish or shrimp.
… a condiment for fried eggs.
… a flavor swirl (that’s a thing, right?) in savory yogurt bowls.
… a dressing for roasted vegetables or chicken.
… and, of course, a smear for toast.
There is nothing you won’t want to slather this sauce on all summer long.
Here’s the three-step play-by-play: 1. Gather your ingredients. Roughly chop the herbs, juice the lemon, peel the garlic, scoop out some avocado flesh.
2. Throw the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
3. Pulse till blended but with a bit of texture. Adjust flavor as needed.
How to use it? The possibilities are endless, but I highly recommend you start here: olive oil toast + jammy eggs.
I love the versatility of this sauce — I find myself dipping carrots into it when I need a snack to slathering it over toast for lunch to tossing it with grilled shrimp for dinner.
Avocado: I love the creaminess the avocado lends here, but in place of it you could use something, as Sarah says, “with body.” She offers miso, nuts, and tahini as alternatives to the avocado. I’ve been cutting 1 avocado in half and using the smaller half for this recipe.
For the green sauce:
1 bunch (about 3 cups, 3 ounces) fresh parsley, cilantro, arugula, mustard greens or a mix, roughly chopped
1 small bunch chives (about 1 ounce), roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon or lime (about 2 tablespoons), plus more to taste
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more to taste
1/4 cup avocado (see notes above)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
For the eggs + toast:
eggs, however many you need
extra-virgin olive oil
good bread, sliced thickly
flaky sea salt
To make the sauce: Add the greens (stems and all), chives, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, avocado, salt, and pepper to a blender or food processor. Pulse until broken down — add water by the tablespoon as needed to thin and get the blade whirring. Scrape down and pulse again until the sauce is broken down and easy to dollop with a spoon. Taste. Adjust taste as needed with more lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Adjust consistency with more water or olive oil by the tablespoon.
To make the toast: bring a small (or large depending on how many eggs you are cooking) pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath. Carefully lower the eggs into the pot of boiling water. Adjust heat so water is gently simmering. Cook 7 minutes. Transfer eggs to ice bath.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon (or more depending on how many slices of bread you are toasting) of olive oil. Toast bread on each side for 1-2 minutes, checking often to ensure the slices are browning evenly. Remove toast when the slices are golden and crisped to your liking.
Smear green sauce over a slice of toast. Peel an egg. Cut it directly over the slice of toast into quarters. Sprinkle with sea salt. Repeat with any remaining slices of toast and eggs.