Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Savory Tomato Bread Pudding and Swiss Chard

So I have a confession to make, I started this blog because a) I am a chronic procrastinator and b) I made the most amazing savory tomato bread pudding last night and I wanted a platform to rave about it.

I spent all day yesterday writing fiendishly (I'm trying to finish my history chapter) and was craving pizza-ish flavors, but not actual pizza. I took a study break to pop over to food52 and take a look at Amanda and Merrill's selections for this week's contest. For those who don't obsessively read food blogs, food52 is producing a cookbook generated through online submissions judged in weekly contests. [Ok, I admit it, I submitted a beet recipe for the current contest and I was checking to see if I had gotten any "likes" or comments. I haven't :( ] Anyway, this week they/we are judging the week 36 finalists in the categories of best sweet bread pudding and best onion or garlic soup.

So I got to thinking tomato bread pudding. Yum! The only problem is that Brad is turned off by foods that are called "pudding" - clearly, he has never been to the UK. Also, last time I made a savory bread pudding, it kind of tasted like vegetarian stuffing with a ton of expensive mushrooms mixed in. So, I started looking for recipes and they are a lot out there. This one from the New York Times inspired the proportions, but I went in a different direction.

  • 1/2 lb high quality Italian bread (like a Tuscan Boule) cut into cubes. Mine was not stale so I baked the cubed bread at 375 for about 10 minutes to "toast" it.
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • 1-2 shallots finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic smashed and chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups 2% milk (or skim or whole or whatever milk you like)
  • 1 cup half and half (or cream, if you are into that)
  • 3-5 of the ripest kinds of tomatoes you can find in the dead of winter, sliced into 1/4 " rounds
  • 1 ball fresh buffalo mozzarella sliced into 1/4" rounds. Do not use American-style mozzarella, it is so not the same.
  • 2-3 rosemary sprigs (remove the rosemary and coarsely chop)
  • 2-3 oz finely grated Parmesan
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • butter
Preheat oven to 375. Sautee shallots and garlic in olive oil. Whisk eggs, milk, and cream together to form a "custard." In a large bowl, mix olive oil with garlic and shallots with bread cubes. Butter a 9 x 11 dish. [One really lazy way to do this is to put a few tsp of butter in the dish, stick it in the oven for five minutes and then use a pastry brush to spread the butter.] Layer half the tomato slices. Salt and pepper the tomatoes and sprinkle half the rosemary on top. Layer on all of the bread cubes. Cover with the remaining tomato slices and the mozzarella slices. Salt and pepper the tomatoes and sprinkle the remaining rosemary on top. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the top. Sprinkle the Parmesan over top of everything. Add a couple of cranks of pepper for good measure. Bake for 45 minute uncovered at 375.

This was really yummy. I served it with some Swiss chard braised in Muscadet.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds delicious. This is totally something I will make for Aaron. Sometimes simple things can be the trickiest, Do tell how you make your swiss chard!!