Savory bread pudding with tomato, gruyere, Parmesan cheese, and Serrano ham.
My pal @VDog is always Twittering about making bread puddings for dinner and after she linked me to a recent NY Times article on what to do with leftover bread, I decided to make some mahseff. I made the savory one yesterday, and to kick off the first day of winter vacation, I made the sweet one for breakfast this morning. (Scoring mom points...)
The main reason why I don't make bread puddings more often (even though I love them) I realized is because we just don't eat a lot of artisan-style bread in our house. Sure we eat toast in the morning, and my kid takes a sandwich to school most days, but that's whole grain sliced wheat bread, which I buy two loaves at a time.
I know people who makes special trips to their local artisan baker or who bake their own breads, and it's a treat for them, but really, I could take it or leave it. I don't have a bread "thing," but pasta and rice? Totally different story. I didn't grow up eating bread and butter so it's not something I think about when putting a meal together. We rarely have it with dinner or at any other time of day. I do buy bread when we have parties (which we recently did and why I had leftovers) or if I am making stuffing, but other than that, it's just not a food product we regularly consume.
Because it's the holidays (and because of aforementioned party) we happened to have some great bread on hand to make bread pudding: a half-eaten panettone (godilovethem) and some Acme Bakery ciabatta and herb slab, a rosemary-scented bread.
Once you have the basic procedure down, the bread puddings are a cinch to make. For both recipes start with:
- a preheated 350º oven
- a buttered 9x11 pan
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups of milk + a little more for soaking hard bread if needed (not low fat and if you want to be indulgent, use half-n-half or cream)
For the savory bread pudding use:
- enough sliced or cubed leftover bread to fill the pan (half a ciabatta + 1/3 of an herb slab)*
- 8 slices of Serrano ham**
- 1 cup of Gruyere (or Gouda or whatever you like), grated
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- a handful of your favorite chopped fresh herbs (I used basil and thyme)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- pepper to taste (No salt because the cheeses and ham are salty)
Combine egg, milk, garlic, herbs, and pepper. Set aside. Butter the pan. Dump in half the bread. Drape 4 slices of Serrano ham over, scatter with half the onions, half the Gruyere cheese, and half the tomatoes. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients. Dump milk-egg mixture over all. Top with Parmesan. Bake for about 45 minutes when pudding will be bubbly and browned, custard-like underneath and crisp on the top. Serve hot or warm.
For the sweet bread pudding use:
- enough panettone to fill the pan (about 2/3 of a normal-sized one)
- zest of half a tangerine or clementine + its juice
- 2 tbsps of your favorite sweetener (sugar, honey, agave etc.)
Combine egg, milk (I used cream), tangerine zest and juice, and sweetener. Set aside. Butter the pan. Dump in the bread. Pour egg-milk mixture over. Bake for about 45 minutes when pudding will be bubbly and browned, custard-like underneath and crisp on the top. Serve hot or warm.
Try these over the holidays, both would be fun on a breakfast buffet, or the savory pudding along with veggies or a salad would make a fine light lunch. Hmmm. Now that I've just written these up, we might have to start eating a little more bread 'round here.
* a tip from the NYT aricle: if the bread is hard, soak in milk for 30 seconds or up to 2 minutes, until you can slice it
** instead of Serrano ham you could use prosciutto or sausage or crumbled bacon, or you can omit the meat and use sauteed chard or any other greens or more tomatoes.