I know it’s several weeks until Thanksgiving, but my mom and I are making plans since we’ll both be guest cooking at my sister’s house in Tulsa. If I cook, there has to be this savory bread pudding my friend Elizabeth brought once. All I have is the photocopy of the New York Times clipping I bullied out of her many years ago, so I went looking for it online. I finally found it after some heavy searching (turns out it was published in 1998), but not before I’d gone ahead and typed the whole thing out. Since I went to the trouble, I decided to post it here for everyone.
Yes, it’s a pain in the tush to make. Yes, it’s worth it. Yes, it contains cheese, but not that much.
Savory Bread Pudding, adapted from Nougatine at Jean Georges, via the New York Times
8 oz sourdough bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 oz swiss cheese, grated
2 oz parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons butter
4 oz mixed wild mushrooms (shitake, oyster, black trumpet, or others)
2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup chopped Swiss chard1 leek, white and light green parts only, rinsed well and very thinly sliced
1/3 cup Swiss chard stems, diced
1 large egg
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
1. Combine bread, swiss cheese, half of parmesan in large mixing bowl.
2. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add mushrooms, sauté until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to the mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the skillet, add the spinach and swiss chard leaves. Saute until wilted about 2 minutes, and transfer to the mixing bowl.
3. Bring a small pan of water to a boil and add the leeks and swiss chard stems. Blanch for 1 minute, remove from heat and drain well. Add to bread mixture.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub the inside of an 8-inch baking pan with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. In a medium bowl, beat egg until just blended.
5. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine milk and heavy cream. Bring to a boil, remove from heat. While whisking vigorously, add about ½ cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg, then return the egg mixture to the pan and whisk until blended. Add milk mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to the baking pan, pressing gently on surface. Bake pudding until set, about 15 minutes.
6. Remove pan from oven. Preheat a boiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heat. Unmold pudding onto a cookie sheet or other flat pan. Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese on top of pudding, and place under broiler until golden brown, about 20 seconds. Serve while hot.
If anyone tries it without the heavy cream, please let me know how it is.