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Thread: How to serve Ciabatta?

  1. #1

    How to serve Ciabatta?

    How do you present Ciabatta after you heat it? Here in New Orleans we are accustomed to passing a loaf of french bread around the table and just tearing off what you need and then pass it on. The specialty bakeries are now doing things like Ciabatta which I have no idea how to serve once it is heated.

    HELP!

  2. #2
    I certainly don't know if this is the "right" way to serve ciabatta, but we usually bring the warm loaf to the table and tear off pieces, just as you do with French bread in NO... it seems to fit with the rustic nature of the bread. However, I've also seen it sliced.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Chicago, IL USA
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    9,076
    I guess I would cut into slices or hunks. I personally don't care for the idea of everyone at the table handling the bread. What if they don't wash their hands regularly? And I get the chunk the grubby guy next to me just had his whole hand around. Yucky. But I'm probably just anal about that, but it just seems more appetizing to me to be able to reach in and take out a piece without touching everyone else's food. Just my opinion!

  4. #4
    Thanks for the notes....had to wing it last nite so wrapped in a towel, put it in a bread basket and we passed it around and tore off chunkslike French bread. For Grace, what usually happens here is that you hold on to the towel covered end and break off with your bare hand the part you want....it seems to be second nature with people here. But we do have our mavericks.

    The bread was really very good, so I bought another loaf today for red beans and rice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Houston
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    6,332
    emptyspool, have you ever tried ciabatta dipped in olive oil? That's my favorite way to serve it, whether in slices or torn (the place I usually buy it makes theirs with a very chewy crust, making tearing difficult, so we usually cut). I like to put out a little saucer of extra virgin olive oil, maybe sprinkle some freshly ground pepper or dried herbs into the oil, and dip.... MMMMM!

    ...and if you have a particulaly good red beans and rice recipe, would you mind sharing it? Pretty please?
    We figured there was too much happiness here for just the two of us, so we figured the next logical step was to have us a critter.

    - H.I. McDunnough, "Raising Arizona"
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  6. #6
    Funny, I was thinking that same thing about the olive oil....we sliced it tonight but I think tearing it was better. I know CL had several recipes for "dipping oil" a few months back but I tore them out and gave to my sister in law for Christmas with a set of dipping bowls from Williams Sonoma. The ciabatta is wonderful, very different from French bread and several local bakeries are making it now.

    For the red beans, check back tomorrow....I use a local mix that is out of this world and I threw the label away. Usually keep a couple on hand but will go to the grocery tomorrow. I put the beans with the enclosed spice mix, some turkey sausage and the water as advised on label in the slow cooker on low for all day, nine hours and they are wonderful. There is a phone number on the package so I will get it for you. I have tried every one's home recipe but these are spiced perfectly. They are even great when meatless.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    408
    I have used it to make great sandwiches--it works great with the ingredients for a Cuban sandwich--leftover pork tenderloin, ham, swiss cheese, mustard, and dill pickles. I have also made other, more warm-weather sandwiches using ciabatta. It packs well for picnics. I ate breakfast in a restaurant in Cleveland last summer where they make toast out of ciabatta.
    Michele

    Garnett had long known. . . that God's world and the better part of daily life were full of mysteries known only to women.
    --from "Prodigal Summer" by Barbara Kingsolver

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Florida
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    1,242
    I would slice it. Correctly made ciabatta can challenge even the strongest man to rip off a piece. Better have good teeth too (I love the stuff).
    "There's no food in your food!!" Joan Cusack to John Cusack in "Say Anything."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    New Zealand
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    1,901
    I would recommend slicing the ciabatta into thick slices before putting on the table. As Chiffonade pointed out, it can be tough stuff to rip up.

    Try serving it with two shallow dishes, one with olive oil, one with balsamic vinegar. That way people can dunk in one or both - yum!!! My favourite way to eat it.

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