Don’t believe what you’ve read about the death of bread. While breadbaskets continue to receive their fair share of carb-anxious refusals, diners are still clamoring for an old favorite that’s making a big comeback: toast.
“We’ve seen toast turn into a humongous trend in the food world,” says Robin Selden, Managing Partner and Executive Chef of Stamford, Connecticut-based Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning. “We’ve had great success doing toast stations for breakfast events. We’re using retro toasters for the stations and stocking them with different kinds of bread and toppings.” One of the caterer’s most popular choices is a familiar favorite with an upscale twist: peanut butter and jelly. “We use honey roasted peanuts to make our own peanut butter, then top that with freshly mashed raspberries, and sprinkle with crushed peanuts,” Selden says.
Pass the toast
She also brings a creative twist to the standard passed hors d’oeuvres option of topped toasts. First things first, though: get that toast made right. “We grill our bread, because that burnt char taste is so great. We slice loaves, rub them with halved garlic cloves and brush with olive oil. Our kitchen has spray guns filled with olive oil, so it’s a quick way to add that glisten.”
“In the fall, one of my favorite toast toppings is mascarpone cheese with fresh figs and lavender honey, topped with a balsamic glaze,” Selden says. Another favorite is kale pesto topped with brunoise-cut hard boiled eggs. “It’s our take on the classic spinach salad,” she says. “We also do our own version of the classic side dish of peas and carrots by topping toasts with pea puree and sprinkle with finely diced carrot cubes.”
Selden’s kitchen is embracing the upcycling movement, so bread scraps are dried to make breadcrumbs, croutons or bread pudding. “The whole idea of upcycling is very important to us, and we want to do as much as we can,” she says. She cites the efforts of chef Keith Lord, Director of Operations & Culinary at The Wild Thyme Company Catering and Events in San Diego. “He’s started the hashtag #nowastechef, and we’ve been posting photos of our delicious made-from-scraps family-meal soups with that hashtag.”
If you’re looking for a quick and delicious base for house-made bruschetta, consider using New York Bakery® Breads. They’re great topped with end-of-summer favorites like seasonal tomatoes and basil.