When it’s too hot to cook

I’ll still sweat it out over the stove to make the panade from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. In fact, through the heat wave in July, I made panade three times — it’s that good. Luisa, from whom I had first learned about this dish, responded when I tweeted about it: “It is obsession-worthy. (But isn’t it a million degrees where you are? Are you still making it in the crazy summer heat?)” Yes. I can’t stop.

Panade requires you to sweat onions and garlic for 20 minutes, heat up stock, and also sauté greens, if that’s the version you’re making. All these components are layered together with bits of hearty peasant bread, along with a generous amount of cheese, baked for an hour and a half until everything has melded together into a silken, savory bread pudding-cum-soup. And then of course it must be browned on top for total, unstinting deliciousness.

This is the tomato version, which we found inferior to the chard — the latter had much more sophisticated flavors — but no one will complain if you make it. (And had we not known about the magical chard one, we would have gone on happily making and eating the tomato.) The first time I made the panade, I happened to have only beet tops on hand, and they filled the chard role nicely. For the tomato, Rodgers suggests cutting the bread into slices instead of the cubes for the other version, but I think somehow that emphasizes a consonance with baked pasta or even pizza, which we think is not preferable. The cubes also end up looking more attractive in the finished dish.

I’ve since found other versions of the panade in Tartine Bread and Simple French Food, the first with butternut squash and kale, the second with just onions. I don’t know if I can yet bear to deviate from the chard/beet top panade, but perhaps I’ll be ready to experiment by November.

I call this my Mailman Dish, good in all weather conditions.

P.S. Luisa’s post has the recipe.

P.P.S. I’ve decided not to let my wonky analog photographic devices (all of which are low- or non-functioning at the moment) determine how often or whether I post here, so it’s gonna be ugly digital pictures for the time being. But hey! At least I’m here.


3 Responses to “When it’s too hot to cook”

  1. 1 anu August 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    your P.S. link doesn’t work – I think.

  1. 1 Hot kitchen, lazy dinners « Fat is flavor Trackback on September 14, 2011 at 7:14 pm

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