There are two Spanish uses for old bread that I have discovered while here in Barcelona. I think both of them are wonderful, and proof that there is a better fate for your stale bread than croutons. Not to hate on croutons. But these dishes are a little more inventive. Next time, don’t be too quick to discard your stale old bread. It is now an opportunity to try out these wonderful Spanish treats!
Torrijas are similar to French toast, but come from Spain. They are eaten around Easter time and are delicious. You’ll need thick slices of bread (I prefer a rustic loaf, but challah or white bread also works–just be sure that you don’t over soak white bread) and frying pan filled at least 1/2 inch thick with olive oil. Yes, olive oil. You can use vegetable oil, but olive oil is both authentic to the recipe and healthier. Heat the pan on medium-high flame until sizzling.
In the meantime, in a shallow bowl, combine 1.5 cups of milk with 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together 3 eggs. Dip bread pieces in the milk mixture and then the egg mixture before placing them into the frying pan. Fry the bread until golden brown on each side–about a minute or two. Then you have several options: either sprinkle bread with a mix of cinnamon and sugar, or drizzle with honey, or add a few drops of lemon juice.
Next, pan con tomate, a favorite Catalan tapa. I’m guest-blogging about pan con tomate over at The Vegetarian Salmon, a vegetarian/healthy cooking blog that I’ve followed since it was first started by a former teacher of mine from DC. I read a lot of blogs, but she was the first person I knew in real life to start a cooking blog and follow through on it, not letting it become some half-hearted whim. She’s dedicated, and the blog has really flourished, which is inspirational to me as I’m currently dipping my toes in and trying this out myself.