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Each on their own

I have a cardigan that's unmistakably ugly; the colour is drab and makes me look like I'm either coming down with a cold or getting over one. It was made for a tall man, which I am not, so the shoulders droop. On the left side, at my hip, above the pocket, there's a small hole, round and neat like you pushed a sharpened pencil through the wool. I've rolled the cuffs so many times that they're stretched out, and are beginning to ruffle at the edge. Still, the sweater is in my closet, because it is warm and comfy, and I like it. No matter its looks.

I feel very much the same way about panadeI'm a sucker for substance.


A panade is like a savoury bread pudding, or the best parts of French onion soup and a gratin packed together in a casserole. There's bread and cheese and vegetables stacked up on top of each other, baked until the bottom goes lush and the top is crusted golden. A collection of humble ingredients — a fine use of those past their prime, actually — and one that lands up at an end far more auspicious then its start. It's made with stock rather than a custard to bind the layers, so even though rich and filling, the flavour of is clearer. There's acidity from the wine and tomatoes, the sharpness of sturdy greens, the pronounced, aromatic nuttiness of Gruyère; all together, yet each on their own. 

You may be familiar with the recipe for chard and onion panade from the Zuni Café cookbook; if not, you'll find it has a deservedly faithful following. This version adds tomatoes, and their inclusion made it perfect for our start to October, as the trees are starting their turn to technicolour but the days are warm enough that there are (crazy) folks wearing shorts and no coats. This panade is what we had one night when, if not for dinner, I was ready for the blanket we keep tucked by the couch. Hot and bubbling from the oven, we spooned our meal sloppily onto plates — though the crust shattered with an impressive shower of crumbs, underneath there were puddles of broth, and the oozing slip of melted cheese. The vegetables were supple but retained a messy integrity, if not their colour. We had fried eggs on top.

season's ending.


It seems a counterintuitive to take vibrant tomatoes, minutes away from the end of their season, pile them with bouncily green bunches of rainbow chard and lacinato kale, and cook the lot of it to a muted sog, and yet, it makes absolute sense. The result is pretty much exactly what's going on outside right now, a season that blazes but feels cozy; one that's equal parts shining sky and colours turned up to eleven, as it is grey clouds and dim evenings, with the lights turned on early. 

Floppy sweaters and panades, both fit me fine.

Tomato, greens and Gruyère panade
Adapted from 
Food and Wine. With two children at the table, I didn't let the panade bake too long uncovered, since when the crust goes terminally crunchy it can be difficult for small mouths to manage. If that's not a concern, feel free to fully blitz the top until crispy all over. 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for the pan
5 pounds mixed sturdy greens, such as chards and kales, stemmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
One 1-pound, day-old peasant loaf, sliced 1/2-inch thick
3 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, sliced 1/2-inch thick, see note
8 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated, plus extra for garnish

Butter a 10x15-inch baking dish and set aside. Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C), with a rack in the upper third.

In a large, wide pot of boiling water, cook the greens for 2 minutes, then drain into a colander and run under cold water. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water. Chop coarsely and set aside.

In the same pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter with the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened, around 12 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Raise the head to medium-high and pour in the wine; simmer until the wine has reduced to 1/4 cup, around 5 minutes. Stir in the greens and season with salt and pepper. 

In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with one-third of the bread slices, overlapping and trimming the bread to fit. Layer half the tomatoes on top, and season with salt and pepper. Spread half the greens mixture on next, then half of the cheese. Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients, gently pressing down as you build, ending with the bread. Carefully pour the stock over the casserole and press down again, this time using a spatula. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush over all. 

Cover the dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until the top is browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow the casserole to rest for 10 minutes before serving. At the table, sprinkle some reserved cheese on top, if desired.

Serves 8, nicely with a salad and/or a fried egg alongside.


  • I used a mix of tomatoes we had hanging about; if you don't have beefsteaks, semi-roasted Romas would be particularly fine, as done here
  • Fontina is a good switch for the Gruyère




From UPPERCASE magazine, issue #15: cooking science and a recipe for roasted carrots with rough dukkah, and one for harissa mayonnaise.

I am especially proud to be a contributor to UPPERCASE magazine, and I'm heartily thankful for support shown for my stories over there. To show that appreciation, I'd like to give away two copies of the latest, jaw-droppingly gorgeous issue! It even has a super-nifty embossed cover — you'll want to see this one in person. Simply leave a comment here if you'd like to be considered. (Please provide a way to contact you, either through your own website or email address. If concerned about privacy on the latter, the information is only visible to me when entered in the contact email field of the comment form. It will not be made public.)

Entries will be accepted until at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 12, 2012.

My continued thanks and best of luck! xo

Reader Comments (69)

very very nice recipe... it reminds me of a thing called "zuppa valdostana" that I do following the recipe my mother learned from her mother... :)

so good.

(and if there's a copy of the magazine, i ll be happy to have it)

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergu

Beautiful. I often care more about substance and quality than almost anything else. It leaves a deeper impression.

I'd like nothing more than to cozy up beside a plate of this goodness. It is the perfect companion to autumn.

And I'd be thrilled to get me hands on that magazine. If heard nothing but brilliant remarks.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMikeVFMK

That looks really yummy and comforting! I would like to have a copy of the magazine.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I adore the Zuni cookbook. I will have to give this a whirl with the abundance of late season produce! I would love to see the recipe for the roasted carrots!

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermichelle

Love the idea of savory bread pudding! I'll use this to keep warm in the upcoming winter months. Thanks!!

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeighton

hi tara!

would love to win a copy of uppercase. those carrots look amazing.

we have a few remaining tomatoes and a panade seems like just the thing. xo

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentershari

The recipe looks wonderful and old sweaters/cardigans are a must. There is nothing as comfortable or cozy as a thoroughly loved and worn cardigan. Thanks for sharing!

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMallory@forkvsspoon

I love how you describe this meal so much. And I think it't going to be the perfect way for me to use up the rest of my tomatoes too.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacqui

That looks like something I need today! Had to turn on the heater for the first time this season last night!

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSara

wow, the photograph of those roasted carrots looks amazing...and that pan looks like it's definitley contributed its fair share of tasty ingredients to recipes! beautiful!

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkat

Love the look of the panade, never come across it before, but it's a typically grey rainy day here in London and it looks like the perfect warming Autumn supper!

I'd absolutely love to get my hands on a copy of Uppercase magazine so please count me in..

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

I'm always looking for new ways to use up the great bunches of hearty greens in the CSA basket... Do you suppose beet greens would work just as well...?

An embossed cover you say...? Sounds like something I'd like to hold in my hands.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPrairie

would love to win this subscription. thanks

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentervaishali

Oh! I'd love a copy of UPPERCASE! And this looks DELICIOUS! :)

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

I'm a sucker for a good floppy sweater - I should like to see if a panade fits just as well. Certainly looks cozy!

As for the uppercase - count me in.


October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

I have never heard of panade before! I'll have to give it a go. Fall was very late to Portland, Oregon (making up time now), so this dish sounds perfect for dinner.

Please do enter me into the contest as well.

Excellent blog. Love the photos :)

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristin Arychuk

i'm always torn in fall and winter; while i love the comfort found in roasts and stews and warm squishy things, i still crave greens and lighter fare. this looks like a good start to bridge the gap - and beautifully written, as always - thank you!
(and yes, i'd love to see your work in Uppercase!)

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShanley

Delicious. And please count me in for UPPERCASE!

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterC

This looks wonderfully comforting. I adore your way with words and have also enjoyed your work in Kinfolk. Would absolutely love to be considered for one of the Uppercase issues (a publication I've heard so many good things about), thanks for the chance :)

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAthena

Those kinds of worn sweaters are the best. This bread pudding looks all kinds of delicious Tara. Perfect for eating wrapped up in an old, comfy sweater with the ones you love.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJade Sheldon

Every time I visit I am so taken with your talent around language. It's all so intensely visual and evocative. You could elevate a plate of dirt, I'm convinced.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKimberley

This recipe contains so many of my favorite things I can't wait to make it. Fingers crossed for the gorgeous food magazine!

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

I am not familiar with panade but I am definitely intrigued now. This sounds delicious!

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Admittedly, I don't cook much but I subscribe to your blog anyway because you weave such beautiful words and capture stunning photos. The first paragraph of this post drew me in and made me want to cozy up with a thick sweater and a good book.

There aren't a lot of magazines made in Canada that I adore as much as I do Uppercase, so I'm immensely proud that it has taken off as well as it did. Would love to see what you've contributed to issue 15!

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHazel

I was just looking for a recipe for leftover kale and chard in my fridge! Can't with to try this! Also, i would love a copy of UPPERCASE!

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKels

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