An extract and recipe from Every Last Crumb by James Ramsden

An inspiring collection of thrifty, delicious dishes designed to make the most of your bread, spark creativity and minimise food waste.

In this unique book, comprising around 80 recipes, each chapter looks at a day in the five day life cycle of a loaf and offers a variety of exciting and delicious ways to use it. Read on for an extract from Day 3 in the life of a loaf, including a tasty recipe to use up stale bread.

DAY 3 

Salads & So On

As we get into the third day in the life of your loaf you may start to detect a staleness that makes you less inclined to nibble idly at the bread or simply dip it in olive oil. Action needs taking, and that action should not be to throw the bread in the bin – there is still a great deal of fun to be had with this loaf. The previous chapter with its ideas on toast remains entirely available to you here, though equally you may want to start thinking about other options – croutons for salads, dishes whose toast element asks for a crisper, drier kind of toast, or with something juicy that can seep into the bread. We’re not quite at the full rehydration stage of the next chapter, but you won’t be able to knock up a sandwich without noticing a distinct lack of moisture. In short, we are on the precipice, in that liminal phase between youth and senescence. What you have here is a middle-aged loaf of bread with a lot to offer the world.

A simple chicken salad

A proper chicken salad shouldn’t be so much a salad as a spectacular profusion of deliciousness with a few leaves thrown in for colour and vitamin C. Yes, and flavour and texture, too, but ultimately the focus here is not so much on the salad as the chicken, and perhaps the dressing, which delivers a good mustard punch, and certainly the croutons, which are the point of this book.

Here I’ve included oak-smoked Isle of Wight tomatoes – I’ve found big supermarkets tend to stock them. They are marvellous if you can get them but entirely optional.

For the dressing
1 egg yolk
1 generous tbsp Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
A few good shakes of Tabasco sauce
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
6 tbsp light olive or groundnut/peanut oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad
3 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, unpeeled and just lightly pressed
A sprig of thyme
200g/7oz two-day-old bread, roughly torn
2 heads of Gem lettuce leaves
60g/2¼oz watercress
400g/14oz cooked chicken, shredded
20g/¾oz flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
1 finely chopped shallot
1 small tub of smoked Isle of Wight tomatoes, drained (optional) 1 tbsp finely chopped chives

First make the dressing by whisking together the egg yolk, mustard, garlic, Tabasco and vinegar, and then slowly adding the oil while you whisk. Season with salt and black pepper.
Make the croutons for the salad by heating the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet. Add the garlic and thyme and fry for a minute or so, then add the bread and continue to cook, stirring regularly, until crisp and golden. Season with salt.
Arrange the lettuce and watercress in a serving bowl or on individual plates. Top with the chicken, croutons, parsley, shallot, smoked tomatoes (if using) and chives.
Dress excessively and serve swiftly.

Every Last Crumb is out now!

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