Sour foods rode in on a trend five or six years ago, with kimchi and fermented vegetables popping up on grocery shelves everywhere. Sourdough starter made the rounds in our neighborhood, and for a while we had sourdough bread (and pizza crust, and rolls, etc.) weekly.
Sour foods aren’t new, though; they’re just more readily available. And that makes it easy to showcase a pleasantly sour taste as the star of your evening meal.
In moderation, sour can be a theme without being overpowering. Think: yogurt sauce on salad of farro, roasted vegetables, and a mix of greens that include mustard greens, for additional sour-flavor depth. Or, maybe, a charcuterie board with sour pickles or ginger, some ripe cheese, and stoneground crackers.
Or, even easier, feature a loaf of fresh sourdough bread. With the arrival of cooler weather, you might even feel an urge to bake and seek out some sourdough starter. If baking’s not your thing, perhaps you have a friend who loves it. No matter how you acquire it, put a real, honest-to-goodness loaf of sourdough bread as the primary star of your dinner table and build the rest from that flavor.
Why? For one thing (and most important), it tastes good. For another, sourdough bread has more to it, nutrition-wise, than your standard French or Italian loaf.
To enjoy the tart flavor of the bread, serve with something simple, like an herb salad topped with your choice of protein.
[If you’re motivated, here are instructions to make sourdough starter.]
Steak Salad with Herbs | Toasted Sourdough Bread
Love to Cook: This steak salad recipe calls for both eggplant and corn – still available from the market around here. If grilling isn’t an option, you could easily use the oven broiler instead. For a vegetarian option, try this sourdough bread salad with capers and anchovies.
Weeknight Reality: Same as above, but simplify the salad.
Need a Miracle: If you are getting your bread at the grocery and don’t have a stellar bakery section, you may have to select something other than sourdough – say a spouted grain bread, or sprouted grain crackers. Toss the herb salad (Earthbound Farms makes a good ready-to-eat herb blend) in a mustard vinaigrette and top with your choice of quickly prepared protein: rotisserie chicken, deli roast beef, or black bean burgers (warmed in the microwave).
Use the leftover bread for toast the next morning. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, cut the remainder of the loaf into cubes, toss in olive oil, sprinkle with salt (and maybe some herbs?), and toast in the oven. Voilà; you now have fresh croutons. Make a basic chicken Caesar salad and serve with impunity.