This lovely loaf was inspired by the parsley in my tiny herb garden. The crop has endured nightly freezes this month, and although it looks rather wretched in the morning (who doesn’t?), its youthful countenance returns as daytime temperatures ascend. I thought I should use up the peppery leaves before true winter sets in. A French “cake salé” came to mind.
In France, any quick bread that is baked in a loaf pan is called “cake” (pronounced kek). For a birthday party, you’d probably bake a sweet loaf, or a cake sucrée. For a cocktail bash, you’d definitely want a salty/savory cake salé. Well, that’s my tek on kek.
There are no rules for cake salé. I happen to love the parsley-and-Parmesan combination, but you can use whatever herbs and cheese you love and have on hand. You can even throw some crisp bacon bits or cubes of ham into the batter.
Here’s the step-by-step:
To start, rinse a bunch of parsley, and blot it dry with a kitchen towel.
Coarsely chop the parsley with a knife, or take the lazy route, and mince it in the food processor.
Next, generously grease an 8×4-inch loaf pan with softened butter…
And sprinkle the pan with enough sesame seeds to coat the bottom and sides — about 1 tablespoon. Set the pan aside.
Tip 1 1/2 cups flour into a mixing bowl…
Whisk in 1 tablespoon of baking powder…
And 3/4 teaspoon salt. Be sure to whisk these dry ingredients thoroughly.
Then crack 3 large eggs into a separate mixing bowl…
And violently beat them with a wire whisk.
One at a time, whisk in each of the following:
1 whole cup plain yogurt…
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil…
1 cup coarsely-shredded Parmesan cheese…
And 1/2 to 3/4 cups of the aforementioned parsley.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir with a spatula just until the flour disappears. Don’t overmix — the batter should be somewhat lumpy.
Honk if you remember “Lumpy” Rutherford from Leave It To Beaver.
Working quickly now, scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and smooth the top with a spatula.
Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds…
And bake until puffed and spotty brown — 45-50 minutes. Let the loaf cool in its pan for just 5 minutes.
Then run a knife between bread and pan, unmold the loaf, and let it cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
Salty Parmesan cheese…fresh, peppery parsley…there’s nothing about this easy cake salé that won’t make your tail wag. If you’re like me, you’ll serve it with a green salad and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. The bread makes a terrific party appetizer, too.
Here’s the printable:
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