Following the feast of St. Anthony of Padua in June, my family received what had to be the biggest loaf of bread I’d seen in ages: easily twice as wide as my forearm and just a wee bit shorter. It had a rather dark, bitter-tasting crust that was scattered over with toasted sesame seeds; the inside was more spongy than fluffy, evidence that this was a hard-dough loaf (similar in stodgy substance to sweet breads such as monay, pan de limon, putok buns and the turtle-shaped pinagong buns of Quezon province).
It was the perfect bread for sandwiches – and, oh! Such sandwiches!
The savoury bitter crust and the sweetish inner crumb went perfectly with mild Cheddar for a massive grilled cheese sarnie that barely fit on my plate until I cut it in half.
Cooked in butter till golden, this sandwich was given a bit of Italian flair by the addition of basil, oregano, and rosemary to the sliced cheese within. Frying the sandwich in butter tempered the bitterness of the crust and made it crunchier. The sweet crumb was just perfect with the saltiness of the cheese and the fresh flavour of the herbs.
It was just the right thing to eat with an ice-cold soda on a sweltering Saturday afternoon.
(Just so we’re clear, the picture above shows just how huge individual slices of the loaf were. Huge, eh?)
Another time, there was some chicken curry left over from dinner. I just shredded the meat off the bones, whisked it and some leftover coconut gravy into a bit of mayonnaise with some pickle relish and pimenton dulce, lumped on a few slices of cheese, let the whole thing come together for a few minutes in a toaster-oven – et voila! I had a curried chicken foldover that went magnificently with my morning latte. 😀
I recently found out which bakery actually sells these glorious giant loaves. Needless to say, one of them will be making its way into the family breadbox soon. 😀