The party bread is the old-fashioned recipe that will blow away your next barbecue

The party bread is the old-fashioned recipe that will blow away your next barbecue

In general, we are on the side of the decentralization of power. But sometimes at a picnic you need a central showstopper, something that pops up in the sunlight like a delightful Moby Dick sounding, an edible stupa, a delightful Kaaba that everyone walks around in wonder and awe. From the darkness of the picnic basket emerges the Party Loaf, a long-neglected American classic, the staple of the ladies’ luncheon of yesteryear, now reborn for gonzo picnics.

The Party Loaf – no two words work better, either alone or in combination – consists of a loaf of bread sliced ​​horizontally four times. A different scatter lives on each level. It’s like an apartment building or a mountain of purgatory of sandwiches. The whole is covered in a cream cheese glaze and finished with decorations at your own discretion. It’s all very masterly and mid-century, food from the time when the world seemed simpler.

While it will certainly be the central element of your picnic spread, the celebratory bread itself is a democratic and flexible institution. What is distributed is up to you. In 1986, Betty Crocker recommended shrimp salad, deviled ham, and olive-nut spread, covered in a half-and-half and cream cheese glaze. But Ashley Rath, executive chef behind Manhattan’s Venice-inspired St. Theo’s, a fan of the Party Loaf on her few days off, tops hers with homemade mortadella mousse, a tangy creamy pasta salad, and an egg-and-anchovy. . The full recipe is here in all its glory. Like our rights, the spreads that make up a festive loaf are countless. The power belongs to the people, but the party is unmistakably part of the bread.

How to make your own party bread

Cut a pullman bread into four equal slices, without crust. Milk bread would also be ideal.

Add an inch spread of your choice to each layer. (Shown here is Mortadella Mousse, Pasta Salad, and Zucchini — full recipe below, but you can do ‘olive oil tapenade, pimento cheese, whitebait, egg salad. If it spreads and you dig it, it belongs in the Party Loaf.)

Layer the layers and put them in the fridge for an hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and spread the cream cheese evenly over the bread. Optional: Garnish with hard-boiled egg, anchovies, or some pickled parsley.

Slice, serve, feast.

Jeffrey Westbrook

Recipe: Ashley Rath’s Party Loaf

Mortadella mousse

¾ lbs mortadella (preferably red table)

½ cup mascarpone

cup of crème frache

Salt and pepper to taste


Cut the mortadela into cubes and reserve cup. Put the rest in a food processor with mascarpone and crème frache. Mix until smooth. Mix salt and pepper to taste, then fold in the remaining diced mortadella

Pasta salad

1 bag of gomiti pasta, setaro . brand

1 qt heavy cream

1 white onion, chopped

¼ pound butter

¼ tsp chili flakes

¼ cup cream cheese

1 cup buffalo ricotta cheese

Salt to taste


Boil water, season with salt as soon as it boils. Add pasta and cook for 9 minutes. Strain and cool with a little olive oil. Melt the butter in a pan with sliced ​​onions, chilli flakes and salt. Cook until translucent. Add heavy cream and reduce by half. Stir in cream cheese and ricotta and remove from heat. Mix pasta and sauce together, keep in the fridge.

Pickled Zucchini

1 pound zucchini

100 grams of olive oil

5g salt

5g sugar

15 g honey

200 g white wine vinegar

10g garlic, microplaned

10 g mint coarsely chopped.


Slice and grill the zucchini, while cooking mix all the other ingredients together. Cut the zucchini into inch crescents and place in the liquid.

Cream Cheese and Fontina Frosting

4 tbsp butter

½ cup milk

4 tbsp flour

½ cup diced fontina

1 tbsp onion powder

1 pound cream cheese

Salt to taste


Melt butter, once it foams, add flour and toast until light in color and smelling like popcorn. Add milk and let the sauce thicken (like a mornay sauce) then add the fontine and whisk until melted. Place the cream cheese in a kitchen tool and beat, slowly adding salt, onion powder and fontina mixture. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

the meeting

Cut a pullman bread into four equal slices, without crust. Milk bread would also be ideal.

Spread the mortadella mousse on one piece in a nice even inch layer, top with pistachios (toasted and sliced).

On another piece of pasta salad, in a nice even inch layer, cover LIGHTLY with calabrian chile.

For another piece, sieve the pickled zucchini from the liquid and place in a bowl. Mix in equal parts sliced ​​zucchini and freshly chopped parsley. Spread in a nice even inch.

Lay the layers on their own — mortadella on the bottom, pasta salad in the middle, and zucchini on top — and refrigerate for an hour.

Remove from the fridge and spread the cream cheese and fontina frosting evenly over the bread, reserving some for a piping bag to garnish.

Use picked parsley, hard-boiled egg (10 minutes cooking) and anchovies to garnish on top.

Joshua David Stein
Joshua David Stein has written for publications including _The New York Times, Fatherly, Esquire and The Guardian.

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