On the heels of a very happy maiden voyage with the Zuni Mock Porchetta . . . and big thanks to this board for getting me further into the Zuni book . . .
I had a big piece of fontina-like cheese that was about to go past its prime, a bunch of chard threatening to turn to mush in the fridge, and a stale baguette -- and Zuni had a recipe.
The very versatile Panade -- which is sort of like Thanksgiving stuffing, but with cheese. I imagine it's a classic of stale bread usage in France and Italy.
In the version I made, you carmelize a pound or more of onions and some garlic, and layer that in a pan with cubed stale bread (moistened with olive oil and chicken broth), wilted ribbons of chard leaves, and cheese (fontina or gruyere recommended in the book)
Proportion was 10 oz of bread to 6 oz of cheese and 1 lb of chard.
You build up 2 or 3 layers, than pour 3 to 4 cups of hot chicken broth in at the edge of the dish, gradually, to let it absorb and check the level. Then you wrap it up and bake in a slow oven for an hour and a half - then open to brown the top in a hotter oven.
It was a terrific light meal with a spinach salad (Zuni recommends bitter greens) and a glass of red wine. The book of course has much more specific instructions.
Next time I'm going to put a load of fresh thyme in the mix. The primary seasoning of this is salt and pepper. The book has several seasonal versions.