Hot Dish

Think about it: the crust is what really separates the men from the boys. Or the girls from the women, for that matter. Kids hate bread crust; they eat the whole squishy white middle of the sandwich and frustrate their moms by leaving a perfect frame of brown crusts. But the adult view of bread is the crustier, the better. Grown-ups ahould check out ciabatta. This Italian-inspired bread is made by the Whole Foods bakery of unbleached flour, with a touch of rye, and coated in cornmeal. It rises for nearly 48 hours--that why it's almost all crust. It's good dipped in olive oil, but I like to slice the whole loaf horizontally, brush it with pesto or tomato sauce, fill it with cheese and heat it, then cut it into the heftiest finger sandwiches ever. Only $1.49 a loaf.

Whole Foods Market, multiple locations.

--Mary Brown Malouf


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