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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Grilled Bread

Grilled bread is what toast was supposed to be.

Even though it is technically the same idea; taking a piece of bread, and making it crispy and more flavorful. However when it comes to the execution of this idea, the two products come out remarkably different. With grilled bread there is just something special about it. Unlike toast, it holds a contrast in textures over seemingly the entire surface of the 2 inch rectangle. You have the charred, deep crunch of the grill marks, lightened by the tender and delicate white space that gets lost in between. And the same areas that generate the textures are also what produce the quality of the flavor. Because, to me grilled bread tastes dark... The grill marks produce that slight hint of bitterness that enlightens the sweet and salty flavors of the bread itself. Allowing it to become more than just crunchy bread. The bread becomes a vehicle for other flavors, textures and quite possibly, anything you could ever want to eat.

Which is quite possibly what I love most about it, that it has the ability to hold its character for an extended period of time and under an assortment of different accompaniments. The versaitility of grilled bread is unparalleled. This past weekend at Laconda Verde, a comfortable and fairly casual italian place in Tribeca, I was able to sample three different dishes utelizing grilled bread. One was sheep's milk ricotta, served with sea salt and herbs, the second was ruby red shrimp with cannellini beans and garlic, and the third was blue crab with jalepeno and tomato. All three applications were completely different, except for the uniting vehicle that helped deliver the amazing toppings into my mouth; the grilled bread.

So I guess it's safe to say that toast can't do what grilled bread can. It's as if toast is the little red-headed step child, and grilled bread is the real deal, who lettered in three sports in high school and used to take the prom queen to his car during lunch. A little harsh, however, toast just simply can not do what grilled bread can.
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