My introduction to panade was via The Splendid Table’s Project Cooking podcast episode where Francis Lam sings praises about Justin Smillie’s Cured Cod and Summer Tomato Panade. It was interesting to hear about what is essentially a bread lasagne or savoury bread pudding of sorts in its approach, but so jam-packed with flavour, it was begging to be made.
Now I’ve gone through a peel-the-tomato-off-your-Aloo Tikki Burger phase, so I know there are bound to be tomato haters out there, but that shouldn’t stop you from making this. I for one was converted when I tried a slice of tomato with good quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt over toast. The tomato tasted less flat, more rich, brighter with a more pronounced tomato flavour. It’s that taste of tomatoes that I love, and so I constantly try to infuse my tomato-forward dishes with that same brightness.
The way I approached Justin’s recipe though was a bit adventurous. I wanted to glorify my favourite brown butter puttanesca spaghetti in the form of a giant panade. At the base of this panade are anchovies, slow-cooked with garlic in browned butter. There are chilli and mushrooms, locally sourced sourdough that’s roughly torn and just about any tomatoes I could find in the market, but I imagine a mix of the flatter ones with the green tops (as opposed to the more oval ones we see every day) and cherry tomatoes would be the optimum choice for this recipe. I turned up the tomato flavour by adding a splash of puree, seasoning and a few generous pinches of sugar because my tomatoes weren’t as balanced out sweet and acidity-wise.
Once you’re done assembling your panade, herbs, tomatoes and all, as is the case with any good bread pudding, some time in the refrigerator does it good so the bread can soak up all the tomato’s juices and swell up, like one giant wet tomato bread. The next day, simply take off the clingfilm and bake until you see the tomato’s juices peeping out from between the folds of pudding. It’s that simple. Here is something new and adventurous that you can try over the weekend with family, eat alongside some eggs maybe, and get excited to make a fun panade version of your own.
Brown Butter Garlic and Tomato Panade
A panade is a savoury layered bread pudding that I’ve made with brown butter, garlic, anchovies, mushrooms and lots and lots of tomatoes.
Sourdough bread 1 loaf
Tomatoes 2 kilos
Tomato puree 1 tetra pack 200ml
Salt and pepper
Anchovy fillets packed in oil 6-8 fillets
Garlic 12 cloves, divided
Sugar 1-2 tbsp, depending on how sweet/acidic your tomatoes are
Button mushrooms 400g, cleaned and sliced thickly
Green chillies 2-3, slit lengthwise and finely chopped
Fresh Coriander 2 tbsp, roughly chopped
Fresh Parsley 2 tbsp, roughly chopped
Butter 4 tablespoons
Lemon zest 1 tablespoon for the top
Olive oil tons of it- for frying the bread, cooking the mushrooms and finishing the panade
Start one day before you want to eat the panade.
You want to start by slicing the bread and putting a cast iron skillet or other frying pan on the hob to get hot. Drizzle in a thin layer of olive oil and when the oil is hot, lay the slices of bread on the pan and let it fry till golden, turning the slices to get golden evenly on both sides. Do this for all the slices of bread, topping up the olive oil as necessary. Using the bread’s holes as a grater, grate about 6 of the 12 cloves of garlic on each slice of the bread. Reserve the remaining garlic for frying with the anchovies in the butter.
Grate 1.5 kilos of tomato using a box grater and keep their skins for another use such as adding into curries. Slice the remaining 500g tomatoes into thick rounds and set aside. To the grated tomatoes, add 1/2 tetra pack of the tomato puree, the sugar, then salt and pepper the tomato mix liberally. Taste and adjust tomato flavour for a balanced sweet-acidic taste with extra puree, sugar or salt.
In the same frying pan you used for the bread, add another thin layer of olive oil and heat over a medium-high flame. When hot enough, lay on the mushrooms and cook till golden brown on both sides, taking care to not overcrowd the pan with many many mushrooms else it will release tons of water. Also, do not salt your mushrooms until after you’re done cooking them. Once all the mushrooms are cooked, keep them aside and get on with the garlic and butter base.
In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low flame, until the butter starts to foam violently. After a few minutes the foaming will settle down and become less aggressive and that’s when you watch out for little blobs of colour and that nutty hazelnut smell indicative of browned butter. Once you have achieved a golden toffee colour with the butter, turn the heat down and add the anchovies followed by the garlic and chillies and cook for a minute or two until the anchovies disintegrate completely. Take the pan off the flame and keep ready.
For assembling the panade, use a casserole or Dutch oven that’s oven-safe. Brush the bottom and sides of the Dutch oven or casserole generously with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of the tomato mixture at the bottom of the pan. Add about a tablespoon combined of coriander and parsley over this tomato pulp. Scatter over 1-2 spoonfuls of the browned butter and anchovy mixture. Cover this with a thin layer of the sliced tomatoes and season these tomatoes with salt and pepper and a scattering of the coriander and parsley.
Tear up the bread into rough bite-sized chunks and add 2-3 slices worth of the bread on top of the sliced tomatoes. Add half of the cooked mushrooms at this stage followed by another spoon or two of the garlic-anchovy butter. Spoon over a generous amount of the tomato pulp for the next layer and use a wooden churner to compact the layer pressing down gently.
Add the bulk of the bread pieces for the next layer, still leaving a bit more for the top. Follow this up with the remainder fo the mushrooms, a few more spoons of the garlic and anchovy butter, and add a layer of the sliced tomatoes. Season the slices of tomatoes with salt and pepper, then scatter more coriander and parsley. Add the remainder of the tomato pulp over this, followed by the remaining bread, any leftover garlic brown butter and coriander/parsley. Sprinkle over the lemon zest at this stage. Drizzle olive oil generously over the casserole and clingfilm it. Transfer to the refrigerator and let it sit overnight to soak up all the tomato’s juices.
The next day, preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius and once hot, transfer the casserole to the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is nicely brown and the tomato’s juices are bubbling up from the corners. Serve immediately, spooning it out on plates alongside eggs and more freshly chopped herbs.