Sunday, January 13, 2008
I made these two adorable loaves of bread because 1) I realized I hadn't made bread from Carol Field's The Italian Baker for a while and 2) I had a big bag of Italian parsley in my vegetable bin that I apparently bought for some purpose but forgot to use. Add them up, and you get Pane all'Erbe, or Herb Bread, or, more precisely, Parsley Bread.
This recipe makes two adorable little round loaves, although you could probably just make one big loaf, but it wouldn't be nearly as cute. It's got a few cloves of garlic in it, a lot of parsley, and about half a small onion, and, when I put the loaves in the oven, all I could smell was the raw onion. I feared that the onion would be overpowering, but apparently baking it for about 40 minutes mellows both the onion and the garlic (and the parsley, for that matter). The herbal flavor is is noticeable, but very pleasant.
While Carol Field says that this bread is good to serve with roasts and fish, I was in a more vegetarian frame of mind, and I served it with a spinach and mushroom frittata and roasted asparagus, which was an excellent combination.
Most Italian breads are wet doughs that make nice, holey-looking bread, but this dough was firmer, and the texture much smaller-crumbed, more like a traditional American loaf of bread than a traditional Italian loaf. In fact, it's in the "New Breads" chapter, where Field gives recipes for "'new-wave' tastes." Wherever it comes from, it's a good, hearty loaf of bread, and I still have one cute little loaf in my freezer, which is a very good thing.