A Way with Leftover Bread
June 6, 2015
Savory Bread Pudding
Back from booktour, searching for something to do with the loaf of bread my family failed to eat in my absence, I stumbled upon a savory bread pudding in the Tartine Bread book. I'd just bought some local asparagus at the market, and it seemed worth trying.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting it to be quite so special. But when I opened the oven, I found my pudding had puffed itself up, high as a souffle, and sat there looking jaunty and light. As for the flavor…..
Well, see for yourself.
Asparagus Bread Pudding
adapted from Tartine Bread
2-3 small leeks, white part only, well washed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound asparagus, ends snapped off, cut diagonally into 3-inch lengths
1 small head radicchio
1 can artichoke hearts, cut in half, well drained
3 thick slices good quality day-old (or older) bread, torn into rough cubes
1 cup whole milk
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup grated gruyere
2 teaspoons minced thyme
several big grinds pepper
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan over medium-low heats, add the leeks, and stir occasionally for 5-6 minutes, so they melt into sweetness- without going brown. Add the wine and continue to cook until it’s almost disappeared; this should take about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Salt a big pot of water, bring it to a boil, add the asparagus and cook for one minute, until they turn bright green. Drain and put in an ice water bath so that they don't continue to cook.
Melt another tablespoon of butter, add the radicchio and toss wildly for a minute, just until it wilts. Set aside.
Blot the artichoke hearts with paper towels, removing as much liquid as possible. Salt gently.
Whisk the eggs, cream, milk, thyme, and a half teaspoon of with 1 cup of the grated gruyere. Grate in a bit of nutmeg, and grind in some pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a souffle dish, casserole or Dutch oven.
In a large bowl, stir the leeks and asparagus together. Add the bread cubes, toss again, then add the custard egg mixture, making sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour into the casserole, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and allow to sit for ten minutes, until the bread has absorbed all the liquid. Bake for about 50 minutes.
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I made this tonight for dinner. Delicious, even though I didn’t have leeks, forgot the spring onions I was going to add instead, and then forgot the thyme as well! My baking time was more like an hour and 20 minutes, though, in order to cook off all the liquid.
Definitely doable and on my list when I have some crusty bread leftover.