A Savory Zucchini Bread
I’ve always been the kind of person who waits for a loaf to cool before tasting, especially when we’re talking about bread. I do think that prematurely slicing into a hot loaf of bread (and particularly rye bread) will prevent the inside crumb from cooking fully and evenly.
But today I made a savory quick bread that I could not resist. I dropped it carefully from its loaf pan, nudging it to sitting position with my knuckles, like a hot potato. Steam rolled up its edges. I took a knife to one end; it buckled a bit—way too hot, my friend!—but I managed to pull out a nice slice. Before I knew what was what, the crust slice was long gone and another one laid half-whittled on the board.
Skipping breakfast might have had something to do with that, but I also think that the French do the quick bread right: this one has cubes of ham, zucchini and lots of grated gruyere … all the comfort of zucchini bread, none of the sugar. It’s like a giant gougeres, or French cheese puff, with a dose of American loaf-style practicality—and ham, which is always welcome.
Ever since I read the piece in the New York Times about French savory cakes (the article is here) I have been meaning to try this recipe. I rarely pass on a pre-published recipes here on the blog because I usually can’t resist tinkering significantly with the ones I find (and also, because I have some weird Minnesotan ethic that pushes me to always Work harder! Be more original! Be more authentic!) but this recipe was so good I dared not change a thing.
(I take that back: I added cubes of zucchini to the batter. But this time of year I add zucchini to nearly everything, almost without notice, and it was a good addition.)