Monday, November 11, 2013

Savory Quickbread

I am a big fan of bread; it comes from my Dad. We prefer crusty artisan loaves sliced thickly and served with lashings of good butter, but really, any bread will do. Even cheap bread, toasted, has its place at the table. Homemade bread is the best, especially when it's still a bit warm, but yeast-leavened bread takes a bit of planning and patience. And that's where quickbreads come in.

Most quickbreads are sweet--banana bread, pumpkin bread, date-nut bread--but there's no rule that says it can't be savory and chock-full of tidbits like herbs and cheeses. And when I found a couple of savory quickbread recipes on Bakepedia, I thought I'd do my own riff, using ingredients I had on hand.

A savory quickbread is a great way to use up odd pieces of cheese that aren't big enough to use in another recipe. The same goes for random nuts and things like sun-dried tomatoes and the last bits of herbs from the garden. Cured meats and sausages are great, too; we had a partial bag of pepperoni in the fridge that needed a home. Put them all together in a fairly basic dough, bake, and voilà! Bread.

We ate our bread for dinner with a bowl of soup and an arugula salad. Also as breakfast, toasted with cream cheese. It was good. It was quick. It was quickbread.

Savory Quickbread

1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch salt
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
large pinch sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup olive oil
6 ounces grated cheese
1/2 cup chopped pepperoni

Cook onion over low heat in olive oil with a pinch of salt until golden brown, about half an hour. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

While onions are cooking, soak sun-dried tomatoes in enough boiling water to cover. When soft and pliable, drain them well and chop finely. If using oil-packed tomatoes, you can skip the soaking step and head directly to chopping.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8" or 9" loaf pan with release spray (or butter).

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and olive oil. Fold in the dry ingredients, along with the cooked onion, chopped tomato, cheese, and pepperoni, until just combined.

Spread batter in loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for five minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

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