Step aside, avocado toast, and meet OG American toast, inspired by Colonial-era nostalgia. Chef Marc Sheehan of Loyal Nine in Cambridge, Massachusetts, tops rich, dense brown bread, studded with raisins, with a spicy horseradish cream and smoky bluefish. Then crunchy radishes and vibrant dill add just enough brightness and crunch.
You may find it strange to bake the brown bread in a water bath, but it’s tradition. Sheehan steams coffee cans full of batter to make the bread as they have been doing as long as there have been cans. (Before that, the batter was steamed in “pudding bags” that made the same tubular shape for the bread.) We’ve adapted the recipe to bake the bread in a loaf pan in the oven for ease, but no matter which method you choose, the loaf is delicious.
To learn more, read “Red, White and Bluefish.”
Smoked Bluefish and Radish Toast
Recipe adapted from Marc Sheehan, Loyal Nine, Cambridge, MA
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
For the Brown Bread:
Unsalted butter, for greasing
1 cup coarse cornmeal
1 cup rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cocoa powder
2 cups buttermilk
¾ cup unsulphured molasses
1 cup raisins
Boiling water, for a water bath
For the Toast:
1 cup full-fat greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh-grated horseradish
Eight 1-inch slices brown bread, toasted
8 ounces smoked bluefish, thinly sliced
1 bunch breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
Dill fronds, for garnish
Flaky salt, for garnish
1. Make the brown bread: Preheat the oven to 350º and grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, rye and whole wheat flours, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and molasses. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until a smooth batter forms. Fold in the raisins and transfer to the prepared pan.
2. Place the loaf pan into a roasting pan and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake in the oven until golden brown and the bread reaches an internal temperature of 190º, 1 hour. Remove from the water bath and let cool completely before slicing.
3. Make the toast: In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt with the horseradish to incorporate. Spread each piece of toast with 2 tablespoons of the horseradish cream and top with 1 ounce of smoked bluefish slices. Garnish with sliced radishes, dill fronds and flaky salt, then serve.