Burned Toast Soup
The cookbook author Jennifer McLagan developed this recipe for a simple toast soup, a rustic dish that stretches leftover bread into a comforting meal, after tasting an upscale version of it at a restaurant in Paris. She includes it in her 2014 cookbook, "Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor." The recipe requires thorough and severe toasting: The bread should turn black along its edges and deep brown all over. Use thickly sliced bread, so it's not carbonized all the way through, and the ratio of burned bread to deeply toasted bread will work in your favor. Once the bread soaks up the bacon-infused stock and is blitzed with milk and mustard, all of its intense, smoky flavor will mellow.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1 ¾ounces bacon, chopped
- 2cups chicken stock
- 5 ½ounces sourdough bread, or about 3 thick slices
- 1cup milk
- 1tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 4tablespoons butter
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Step 1In a small stockpot or Dutch oven, cook bacon over low to medium heat until cooked through but not crisp. Reserve a few pieces of bacon for garnish, if desired. Pour the chicken stock over the bacon, bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Step 2Toast the bread slices under a broiler or in a toaster, allowing them to blacken on the edges and turn deep brown all over. Add toast to the stock, ripping it up if it does not fit in the pot. Let stand for 10 minutes so the toast can soak up the stock.
Step 3Meanwhile, heat the milk in another pan until it steams, then add it to the pot. Add mustard and vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to purée the mixture until smooth or transfer to a blender to purée, then return to the pot. Heat gently. When hot, whisk in the butter until it disappears into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste, garnish with reserved bacon.