A recent New York Times dining section included a piece on savory French quick breads, cakes salés. I've seen these before, and I've always wanted to try one. I also had a great deal of zucchini on hand (it's that time of year!) and I wanted to play around with the recipe a bit. The result? Well, I've been eating it happily for breakfast all week, and I can hardly wait to bake another loaf.
• Get the original recipe: The Hors d'Oeuvres That the French Call Cake at The New York Times
This particular adaptation of the cake has a handful of summery flavors: Olives, grated zucchini from the garden, big crumbles of goat cheese. It's delicious with coffee (I haven't tried it with Champagne yet, but believe me, I'd like to!). The zucchini doesn't stand out so much as a flavor, but it gives the bread a gentle green hue inside, and it makes the bread extra-moist.
If you're looking for a quick, make-ahead breakfast, try this. The bread keeps very well; my husband and I have been nibbling on this for breakfast for several days straight, and it still tastes fresh and moist. The extra eggs and olive oil in the bread also seem to make it a little more filling and substantial than your average morning quick bread. I'd like to try it toasted with a smear of hummus, too.
And if nothing else, these flavors really will transport you to Provence!
Zucchini and Olive Breakfast Cake, French-Style
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan and drizzling
1/2 pound zucchini,
1 teaspoon salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with olive oil. Grate the zucchini on the coarsest side of a box grater. Place the zucchini in a colander in the sink, and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt. Let drain while preparing the rest of the recipe.
In a large bowl, whisk the minced garlic with the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a separate, medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, then whisk in the milk and olive oil. Use a rubber spatula to fold the wet ingredients into the dry until barely mixed. Fold in the crumbled goat cheese and the sliced olives.
Press firmly on the zucchini in the colander, pressing out as much water as possible. Quickly fold the zucchini into the batter.
Spread the batter in the prepared loaf pan, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle the top with kosher salt. Bake loaf for about 45 minutes, or until golden and a knife inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
Transfer to a rack to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge to release. Turn out loaf onto rack to firm up before slicing, about 30 minutes; using a serrated knife, cut into 3/8-inch slices, then cut into halves or quarters.
Adapted from The New York Times.
(Images: Faith Durand)
(Originally published July 21, 2010.)