Originally posted by Laserwolf
After reading this I made sure that both Cubanelles and Crispy Italian Bread were on my grocery list. Unfortunately I could not find Cubanelles at any of the 3 grocery stores I checked. When I come across them however, I plan to give this a try.
My only question would be about the bread. What is a good Crispy Italian Bread? I really would appreciate a couple of examples.
Authentic "Italian" bread (Italian-American bread, actually ... I don't think it is a big item in Italy) is the type of bread, often sold as "Italian" ... or from an Italian bakery, that comes only in a paper
a plastic bag) and is usually delivered in to the store from the bakery *every* day ...or every other day at most.
It comes UNsliced, the crust is hard and thin and crisp, and the inside is quite soft.
If you call or ask around to see who sells this type of bread you should ask if they have "the Italian bread that comes in the paper bag". To get the best idea of what this style of bread is like, ask what day they get their delivery (generally, today or tomorrow) and then buy it there later on that day ... you want it as fresh as possible.
It is best when used within a day or two. Once it's home, if you need to store it more than a couple days you can put the loaf in its paper bag into a plastic bag *then* (so it does not dry out completely).
This is a great bread for lots of things. It is a meal in itself when served with a good antipasto tray that includes things to put on top of the bread ... peppers of all types including peppers in EVO, anchovies, olives and olive salad, marinated artichoke hearts, caponata (eggplant salad), the "Italian Salad" noted below, Italian cheeses and cold cuts like Hot Capicola (a spicy Italian ham), etc.
One of my fav's is to use Italian bread with a "dunking" salad ... "Italian salad"
this is just red onion, peeled cucumber (including any juice that you can press from the seeds), Roma tomatoes, and possibly some green pepper ... all vegetables sliced roughly julienne ... equal amounts "oil & wine vinegar" and 1/4 that of water, a pinch of sugar and salt, and herbs ... either fresh or dried oregano or basil (most often it's made with dried oregano).
Adjust oil & vinegar and water so that you have enough liquid to completely cover the vegetables by a half inch (in the bowl)... the liquid is needed because this is a "dipping salad" to dip the bread into.
Before using, it is important to let the salad marinate in the icebox on the top shelf for at least a couple hours, stirring once or twice. Serve cool but not cold and dunk your Italian bread into the salad.