Melba Toast Recipes & History For National Melba Toast Day | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Melba Toast Recipes & History For National Melba Toast Day | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
 
 
 
 
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RECIPE: Melba Toast Recipes & History For National Melba Toast Day

Melba Toast & Crostini
[1] Melba toast and olive tapenade. Here’s the recipe from Sprinkles & Sprouts (photo © Sprinkles & Sprouts).

Pate & Melba Toast
[2] Chicken liver paté and Melba toast, with a dab of marmalade. recipeHere’s the recipe from Drizzle And Drip (photo © Drizzle And Dip).

Salmon Tartare & Melba Toast
[3] Salmon tartare and melba toast. Here’s the recipe from Olive Magazine. Crackers or crisps like these are thin and crunchy, but were baked that way. They are not toasted from bread, so are not toasts (photo © Olive Magazine).

Raincoast Crisps
[4] These are Raincoast Crisps, a NIBBLE favorite (photo Elvira Kalviste | © THE NIBBLE)).

Raincoast Crisps Copycat Recipe
[5] This is a copycat recipe for Raincoast Crisps from The Wandering Fig (photo © The Wandering Fig).

 

March 23rd is National Melba Toast Day, celebrating dry, crisp and thinly sliced toasts.

First, and with all due respect, today’s packaged Melba toast has as much to do with homemade Melba toast as the Keebler Elves have with the best homemade cookies.

Melba toast, which became a diet staple in the U.S. thanks to manufacturers such as Devonsheer and Old London, dates to the end of the 19th century.

But as previously noted, packaged toasts are so dry and unappealing! A recipe to make your own yummy melba toast is below.
 
 
THE HISTORY OF MELBA TOAST

Melba toast was born in 1897 at the Savoy Hotel in London, where the legendary French Chef Auguste Escoffier ruled the kitchen, and César Ritz ran the hotel. Dame Nellie Melba, the great Australian soprano, was a guest.

There is an unsubstantiated tale that Melba toast was a mistake in the hotel kitchen; that the dieting diva asked for some dry toast which arrived as over-toasted, thin and crunchy slices. However, as with the story of the history of potato chips, the guest enjoyed the result.

The more likely explanation is that Melba toast was created by Escoffier either as a lower-calorie food for the singer, or as simple fare during a bout of illness in 1897 when she was unable to tolerate richer foodstuffs.

See more foods he named for Nellie Melba at the end of this article.

It is said that César Ritz bestowed the name Melba toast, and put it on the menu.

Since then, manufacturers have marketed Melba toast as a reduced-calorie bread option.

But for those who want to enjoy a piece of Melba toast, modern crostini are a much closer match.
 
 
MELBA TOAST & CROSTINI VS. CRACKERS & CRISPS:
THE DIFFERENCE

Those thin toast points served with caviar, pâté and steak tartare…those crunchy toasts served with cheese…are they Melba toast?

And what do they have to do with biscotti and bruschetta?
 
Melba Toast Vs. Crostini

These two are very similar. Both are cut from a loaf of bread and toasted. However:

  • Melba toast is toasted dry, saving calories.
  • Crostini are brushed with olive oil, and can be thicker than Melba toast.
  • Thin toast points made without added fat (butter, oil), as served with caviar, pâté, etc., are also Melba toast.
  •  
    Melba Toast Vs. Crackers/Crisps/Toasts

    In the U.S., makers of artisan crackers sometimes call them crisps, to sound more elegant. That works in the U.S., but in the U.K., crisps are potato chips.

  • Melba toast is a slice of bread that is toasted.
  • Crackers and crisps are made from a dough that is baked to its finished size and shape. They are not slices of anything
  • Toasts, or party toasts, are actually bread that is dry-toasted like Melba toast. They are baked to size, sliced and then toasted until dry and crunchy. They are a miniature, thicker type of Melba toast.
  •  
    Bruschetta Vs. Crostini

  • Bruschetta are grilled, crostini are toasted.
  • Bruschetta are larger and thicker than crostini.
  • Here’s more on the differences between bruschetta and crostini.
  •  
    Melba Toast Vs. Biscotti/Rusks

    What about savory biscotti?

  • Biscotti are made from a dough that is shaped into a loaf, then baked. The biscotti are then cut from baked loaf and baked again: twice baked, like Melba toast.
  • They are also called rusks (and have a history with teething babies).
  • However, biscotti, also known as rusks, are much thicker and larger than Melba toast.
  •  
     
    WAYS TO SERVE MELBA TOAST

    Whatever you call them, serve them:

  • As a crostini base.
  • With dips.
  • With pâté, rillettes and other fish and meat spreads.
  • With soft cheeses and cheese spreads.
  • With salads and soups.
  •  
    Are you ready to toast your own?
     

    RECIPE: MELBA TOAST

    Melba toast is made by lightly toasting thin slices of bread in an oven or under a grill (no grill marks!), on both sides.

    The thin slices are then returned to the heat with the untoasted sides towards the heat source.

     
    Ingredients

  • 1 unsliced loaf of bread, 1 or 2 days old
  • Serrated knife, sharpened
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 250°F. Remove the crust from the loaf. You can save them and turn them into parmesan crisps, or let them dry out overnight and pulse (or use other technique) to make bread crumbs.

    2. DECIDE on your toasting technique. (a) Cut the loaf into sections 3 inches thick. Cut each chunk into triangles, then cut each triangle into three or more thin slices. (b) Lightly toast thick slices of bread. While still hot, slice horizontally into two; then create triangles or rectangles as you prefer.

    3. PLACE on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown. Toast bread in oven, flipping slices halfway through, until dry, about 2 hours. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning.

    4. COOL thoroughly. Then store in an airtight container.
     

    MORE FOODS NAMED FOR NELLIE MELBA

    Escoffier created four foods in total, in Melba’s honor. In addition to Melba toast, there are:

  • Peach Melba, a dessert made of peaches, raspberry sauce, and vanilla ice cream.
  • Melba Sauce, a dessert sauce of puréed raspberries and red currants.
  • Melba Garniture, tomato stuffed with chicken, truffles and mushrooms in velouté sauce.
  •   

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