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Author Notes: I'm always happy to find myself with a hunk of fossilized baguette during the summer, when juicy tomatoes are everywhere, but I wanted a receptacle for stale bread during the winter months. Most recipes I found mixed the bread with roasted root vegetables, but I wanted something that just required chopping, mixing and eating. Here, the bread is softened by a soak in vinegar and olive oil, but remains a toothsome counter to hunks of lovely pear and crunchy fennel. Enjoy. —Erik Hellman
- 2 cups Stale baguette, cut to 1 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 Shallot, diced small
- 1 Fennel bulb with some tops reserved
- 1 Pear (I like Red Anjou for Color)
- 1/8 cup Crumbled Gorgonzola
- 1/4 cup Walnut halves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix bread cubes with the shallot, 1/2 of the vinegar and 1/2 of the oil, plus a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Let sit while you chop the other ingredients.
- Chop the fennel bulb into a 1/2 inch dice and reserve a few sprigs of the fennel top for garnish. Core the pear and chop into a 1 inch dice.
- Mix the fennel and pear in with the bread. Add the cheese and walnuts with the rest of the vinegar and olive oil and mix. Let the salad sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste and add fennel sprigs to garnish.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Stale Bread