I love proper bread, bread that has been allowed to develop properly and not been rushed through a commercial process. I think sourdough is my favourite.
How I really love bread is not in a slice or in a sandwich. I love it as an ingredient with other things, to thicken soups, in Italian panzanella or pappa al pomodoro, and especially as a crouton or fried. I really love bread fried in pork fat. Big slices, little chunks. I’ve burned my tongue on them far too many times. (I will never ever learn). Naughty I know, but really delicious.
Croutons are incredibly versatile, they are just the perfect vehicle for many things. Whatever you want really! So, in this weeks Evening Standard recipe, I have pimped my croutons with some delicious homemade spicy harissa. I love serving this with a red lentil soup. The simplicity and rustic nature of the soup is a great counter to the spicy, crisp harissa croutons.
The recipe for the soup & croutons is on the Evening Standard. I have included the harissa recipe (from Comfort & Spice) here.
Evening Standard Column: Lentil Soup with Harissa Croutons
My Harissa Recipe
To make homemade harissa, roast a red pepper over a gas flame until black all over. Place in a plastic bag and allow to cool. Peel and blitz with 4 red chillies, deseeded, 1 tbsp toasted and ground cumin seeds, 2 garlic cloves chopped, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Season with sea salt.