Best thing since fresh bread

Classic Spain ... Catalan tomato bread with Spanish ham.
Classic Spain ... Catalan tomato bread with Spanish ham.

Being part-owner of MoVida Bakery in South Yarra, I have too much respect for a baker's hard work to throw out quality bread. Even after the freshness and aroma have left a loaf, there is still so much more you can do with old bread than make toast.

My Spanish background prepares me well for being frugal with all food, but especially bread. And there are so many recipes that call for bread that's several days old.

Chilled soups such as gazpacho or salmorejo, rustic dishes such as migas where the bread is broken into couscous-size pieces and cooked with chorizo and garlic, and Easter treats, called torrijas, that are sweet versions of French toast.

The options for using old bread are endless and, when done well, they are delicious.

The national dish of the Catalans uses leftover bread. It's called pa amb tomaquet in Catalan, pan con tomate in Spanish, and just bread with tomato in English. It is the benchmark dish of restaurants in Barcelona. Being Spanish, not Catalan, I have improved even this dish with the inclusion of jamon.

Our own traditions in Australia make use of leftover bread - bread-and-butter pudding being a classic example. I love it served warm with oranges.

Barcelona-born Frank Camorra is chef and co-owner of MoVida Sydney and Melbourne's MoVida Bar de Tapas.

MoVida Sydney participates in Bread for Good.


5 very ripe tomatoes
100ml extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
8 thick slices two-day-old sourdough bread
1 garlic clove
16 slices ham, ideally Jamon Serrano

Pre-heat griddle pan on top of stove. Cut tomatoes in half and grate, using a steel box grater, into a bowl until only the skin is left. Discard skin. Add 50ml olive oil, salt and freshly cracked black pepper and set aside.

Grill bread on griddle pan for a few minutes on each side until golden and toasted. Cut garlic clove in half, skin-on. Using cut side, rub garlic liberally on one side of each piece of toast. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato onto each slice and drizzle with remaining oil. Place 2 slices of ham on each slice and serve while still warm.

Serves 8 as an entree


80g unsalted butter, room temperature
12 slices day-old bread, crusts removed
400g oranges
800ml cream
4 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup whisky
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180C. Butter bread on both sides and set aside. Peel oranges, removing any traces of pith, and cut into 1cm-thick slices. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cream, eggs, egg yolks, whisky, sugar and vanilla. Place a layer of buttered bread in the bottom of a shallow 26cm ovenproof dish. Layer remaining slices of buttered bread on an angle around the pan, placing orange slices in between. Slowly pour cream mixture over the top, letting the bread absorb the liquid.

Pour 2 litres of boiling water into a deep tray and place on bottom oven shelf. Place the bread and orange pudding dish on a middle shelf and bake until the pudding is just set (about 45 minutes). Carefully remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve in thick slices with a dusting of icing sugar.

This story Best thing since fresh bread first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.