I made bread to go with soup the other day and forgot to add salt to the dough.
If you’ve ever done this you know that saltless bread is nigh inedible. Flat and lifeless and terrible. It’s like eating beige. I’m a frugal woman and didn’t want to throw out a big boule of bread, but I didn’t want to eat it, either.
Instead, I cut it into one-inch cubes, very very roughly speaking. This is peasant food at its finest and there is no precision necessary. I tumbled them all out onto a tray in a low oven to dry out. While it was drying, I chopped an onion and cooked it down with butter. Then I grated gruyere and defrosted some greens from my freezer. (How to freeze your greens.)
The trick here is to wring the greens out until they are as dry as humanly possible. This is not a fast or easy job and my forearms get a work out. Also, it stains my dish cloths green. But it’s worth it. I used two 1 pint freezer bags worth and wrung them out until they were like slightly damp cotton balls. Watching all that green water dribble down the drain bugged me, as it always does. One day I’ll need to figure out how to save that and what to do with it.
Then I mixed up a royale — dairy and eggs. You can use almost any combination, but I like a cup of whole milk, two eggs, and an extra yolk for richness.
I knew the base of the dinner, the bread, was flat and gross, so I added more flavor than usual to the royale — three big pinches of salt, along with nutmeg, black pepper, thyme, and a splash of sherry. I contemplated dried mustard but couldn’t find it in the mess of my spice cabinet and moved on.
I got out my favorite oval casserole dish and layered dried bread, cheese, pulled-apart greens, onions, three times, ending with an extra topping of cheese. Then I poured over the royale and baked at 350 until golden, brown, and bubbly.
It was pretty good. I could still tell that the bread hadn’t been salted, but it was edible and even tasty. When I do it again, I’ll use less bread and more royale and cheese. And, of course, I’ll salt the damned bread.