Traveling to NYC to meet clients in the early 1990's, the Silver Palate bakery case was an early morning breakfast stop. This banana bread was always front and center in the glass case for the early morning pre Starbucks coffee crowd. When I finally decided to learn to cook, the Silver Palate Cookbook was on the bestseller list. Armed with a copy purchased at Waterstone's (long shuttered) on Newbury Street in Boston, a quick stop into an overpriced local market for the ingredients (an amused young shelf stocker sought out the ripest bananas he could from the back), and this was the first recipe I made--a successful jumping off place that has lead to 25 years of fun in the kitchen. When life gives you rotten bananas, make banana bread.

Kitchen Notes
After a day or two, make toast out of leftover slices. For breakfast or lunch, take a page from the Parish Cafe in Boston: top a slice with Black Forest ham and some shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Heat until the cheese melts. Serve with a tablespoon of mango chutney.

Silver Palate Banana Bread


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour

  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Sift the all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt together, stir in the whole-wheat flour, and add to the creamed mixture, mixing well.

4. Fold in the mashed bananas, vanilla and walnuts.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake on the center rack of the oven until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then on a rack.

Makes 1 loaf