Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cheesy Tomato, Garlic and Spinach Bread



After a weekend away (which inevitably means eating out for every meal), I cannot think of a better thing to come home to than Andy in the process of baking fresh bread. And that is exactly what happened when I came home after my long weekend! A kind he's never tried before too, which is always fun. I have to admit that it was time consuming, but completely worth it.


These tomato, garlic and spinach loaves knocked our socks off and will most definitely be making an appearance in our home again. One of the really nice things about these loaves are the wonderful, flavor-filled ingredients. It is almost magic how much flavor is packed into these babies. To the original recipe, he also added a handful of spinach, which I tend to add to just about any dish I make (he just knows me that well).


We also thought the addition of cheese was a no-brainer and we went with Asiago. The recipe we used is adapted from the book Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads, (which is a really excellent book on baking that includes an in-depth how-to DVD if you're on the lookout for baking books).


The loaf is made with a basic olive oil dough, like the one found here and is filled with oven-dried tomatoes, spinach, roasted garlic and cheese.

The roasted cherry tomatoes develop their flavor as they are baked low and slow with a hearty dose of salt, pepper and sugar. The whole garlic cloves are cooked on the stovetop in a good amount of extra virgin olive oil with salt and sugar until caramelized.


After the fillings were ready and the dough had risen, we spread the dough like a thick crust pizza, loaded up the fillings and then folded it over into thirds. This loaf was cut into four pieces.


We took one section at a time and turned it on its side and pinched the bottom together of each to create dough boats with the fillings inside.


All that's left is to bake the loaves. And there you have it. So much of the flavor was due to the roasted tomatoes and garlic. Next time we make a batch of oven-dried tomatoes, I'll plan to reserve quite a few for salads, spreads and anything else in need of a dose of concentrated flavor.


Any fillings could be used for this bread: olives and feta cheese, pine nuts, caramelized onions... the possibilities are endless. Next time, we talked about adding chicken and pesto, which would make it a full meal in itself.


P.S.- Today for lunch, we cut a loaf in half and then sliced it horizontally. We used pesto Parmesan ham and Provolone cheese to make what may have been the most delicious sandwich I've ever had. I seriously cannot describe how good this bread is, so you'll just have to make some filled loaves for yourself!

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