Bread pudding is a classic way to use up stale bread. Sweet bread pudding is most commonly served with caramel sauce as a dessert. My wife saw a recipe for savory bread pudding in a Williams-Sonoma catalog. We like savory variations on usually sweet dishes. She made this with some significant modifications especially since we did not have any stale bread and none of our home made bread lasts long enough to become stale. My wife used Pepperidge farm bread stuffing leftover from last Xmas instead. We tasted it when it was baked but did not take a picture. So, a few days later, we pan fried the pudding and served it with skinned Campari tomato (seasoned with Kosher salt and spicy Spanish olive oil), fried eggs with runny yolk, cold cauliflower and broccoli. This was a lunch one weekend.
The pudding, eggs, and broccoli were heated up in the same frying pan. I first melted the butter on medium flame and started with the bread pudding (just to warm it up and give it a slight crust), when I turned it over, I added blanched broccoli and eggs. I put on the lid and cooked it for 30 seconds and let it stand for 1 minute with a lid on which made perfect fried eggs (of course, I used Pasteurized eggs).
We liked the bread pudding served this way better than immediately when it came out of the oven.
1/4 bag of Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing
2 strips of bacon (#2)
2 small onions diced (#1)
olive oil, as needed
3 shitake mushrooms diced including stem (#1)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup (7 g) fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (#1)
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 cups (480 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (240 ml) cream
1/4 cup (25 g) grated Gruyère cheese
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
Butter a small baking dish (we used one that was 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 ).
Prepare the onions, mushrooms and parsley (#1).
In a fry pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp (#2). Transfer to a large bowl. Add the onion to the pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until caramelized, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the onions to the bowl with the bacon.
Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl and let cool. Add the Parmesan, parsley, thyme and salt to the cooked mushroom mixture and mix well.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and cream until well blended. Pour over the mushroom mixture and stir to combine (#3). Gently mix in the bread stuffing.
Carefully pour the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish. (If you have extra, fill a buttered ramekin and make an additional tiny bread pudding.) Scatter the Gruyère evenly over the pudding and grind a light dusting of pepper on top.
Bake until the custard is no longer runny but still a bit wobbly in the center, 40 minutes to 1 hour (and about 25 minutes for a ramekin) (#4).
It will continue to cook as it sits before serving. Serve the bread pudding hot or at room temperature. Any leftovers can be stored, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheated, covered with aluminum foil, in a 350°F (180°C) oven.
With all the cheese, bacon and cream this is a rather rich dish. We found only a small piece at a time was plenty. Nonetheless it is a nice dish. Cutting it into small slabs and frying it in melted butter made it more interesting by adding a slight crust. Next time, we may use "stale" bread instead of bread stuffing but probably not our home baked bread.