If you are a person who likes freshly baked bread, I would bet you're also a person plagued by forgotten heels of baguettes and boules skidding toward fossildom on the counter. You're always looking for more ways to keep up, especially ones that will weave into your diet subtly, that don't feel like another meal made of bread. Bon Appétit editors Dawn Perry and Claire Saffitz developed a way to plump up a spare vinaigrette, without getting cream or mayo or egg yolks involved -- so you can serve it to your vegan friends (and young children, the pregnant and infirm, and anyone else you don't feel comfortable subjecting to your own cavalier attitudes about raw egg). After a few quick pulses in a food processor and a soak with vinegar, garlic, mustard, and water, the bread bits soften. Then, as you blend in the olive oil, they smooth out into a rich emulsion, like an extra-punchy white gazpacho. The bread contributes not just thickening strength, but flavor. Here, the creamy tang of sourdough bounces nicely off of bitter radicchio, but you could harness pumpernickel or rye or rosemary focaccia in the same way, making not-boring salads that don't need much more. Adapted slightly from Bon Appétit (December, 2014) —Genius Recipes
sourdough bread, crust removed, torn into small pieces (about 1 cup), divided
Preheat oven to 425° F. Toss half of the bread with 1 tablespoon of oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Bake, tossing once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Keep a close eye on them -- they can burn quickly.
Pulse garlic, vinegar, mustard, sugar, remaining bread, and 2 tablespoons of water in a blender to combine; let sit 5 minutes to soften the bread. With the motor running, gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup oil; blend until smooth (the bread will blend into the dressing, thickening and flavoring it, while retaining some texture), about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
Toss radicchio, scallions, croutons, and dressing in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.