This is my last Dark Days post. I think a few die hards might be going one more week but this will be it for me. So, I wanted to go out with a bang. On Saturday at the farmers market I picked up some gorgeous asparagus.
and I got some of these…chanterelles.
I decided to make a savory bread pudding. There’s a few of these recipes floating around and all winter I had in my head that I’d make a butternut squash one. That never happened, so this is the spring version. Because I blew all my cash on those chanterelles, I wasn’t able to get my cheese at the farmers market. So I stopped by the grocery store on the way home in search of local cheese. They had an aged, nutty goat cheese from Cypress Grove, which is in Northern California. I thought would be lovely. Except now, I just went to their site to get the name of the cheese, only to learn that this particular cheese is made in Europe for Cypress Grove. Gahhhh. If I had known that, I would have just gone for gruyere. Oh well, it was just four ounces.
This all came together really easily. Nothing here is too precise and I think it’s fairly hard to screw up. Just stale bread, a custard batter, cheese, and vegetables. Simple and hearty.
1 1-pound loaf bread, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. I used Acme’s pain au levain, an earthy sourdough type of bread.
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1/2 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 shallot, leek, or spring onion, thinly sliced
6 large eggs
2 cups whole milk (I used one cup skim and one cup half and half because that’s what was in my fridge)
1-2 cups finely grated cheese, idealy gruyere or some aged, nutty cheese
Salt and pepper
Place bread on 2 large baking sheets. Let stand uncovered overnight to dry out. Alternatively, stick it in the oven at 250 for a half hour or so to dry it out.
Warm a little olive oil or butter in a skillet and add the shallot. Saute for a few minutes and add the asparagus. Saute them together for a few minutes and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Grease a 13X9 baking dish and spread half the bread across the bottom. Evenly spread the asparagus, the mushroom mixture, and half the cheese across the bread. Top with the rest of the bread and cover with the remaining cheese.
Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Pour the mixture over the bread and vegetables. Let stand for at least 20 minutes, pressing with spatula occassionally to submerge bread pieces.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake bread pudding until brown and puffed, about 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and serve.
So warm and hearty and satisfying. We drank a lovely Sonoma chardonnay with it. Perfect early spring dinner.