Some days, in cooking, things just don’t go right, even with items you’ve made many times before. That happened to me one recent weekend when I set out to make baguette. Everything went wrong. First the dough refused to rise sufficiently (even though I had proofed the yeast). I decided to cook it anyway. Somehow I got the wrong temperature and the bread came out “high done” i.e. burnt. So there we were with two skinny burnt baguettes (one shown below).
Surprisingly it still tasted pretty good. I was ready to throw it out and make like the whole thing never happened. But my wife stayed my hand. She came up with this dish based on a recipe from “Cooks illustrated”. This is a gazpacho using bread as the base. It is also supposed to be white (crusts removed) but my wife used my botched bread, dark brown crust, included so the the color is rather tan than white. The brown (burned) crust added a nice nutty taste to the soup.
Baguette sliced, enough water to cover the baguette slices
1 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
2 garlic cloves
5 tbs. rice vinegar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Seedless grapes cut thin and more toasted almonds for garnish
Soak the sliced bread in the water for several minutes. Process the toasted almonds in a blender until finely ground. Remove the bread from the water and gently squeeze out most of the water. (save the water). Add the bread to the blender with the almonds. Add enough of the soaking water that the bread can be pureed. After the bread mixture has reached the consistency of cake batter, add the garlic, vinegar, salt, and cayenne and continue processing (add more soaking liquid if necessary). Then add the olive oil in a thin steady stream. If the mixture is processed long enough it should be very smooth and creamy. Serve with the sliced grapes and toasted almonds as garnish.
Although the gazpacho was not white, the tan color was very pleasing. It was very creamy with a nice nutty flavor (from the burnt crust). The cayenne gave it a pleasant zing. It was a very filling and refreshing soup for a hot summer day. I took the remaining botched baguette, cut it up and put it in the freezer ready for the next batch of white/brown gazpacho. BTW the next morning, I redeemed myself, by successfully baking 2 baguettes. Next my wife will be asking me to botch a loaf because she wants to make gazpacho.