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Asparagus bread pudding Recipe
It’s spring, the asparagus is in, and it sometimes seems like there aren’t enough ways to eat it. This dish can stand alone as a vegetarian entrée or serve as a hearty side dish alongside roast chicken or fish. My guests have compared the consistency to a calzone.
This is a fairly forgiving recipe though I would caution against using unusually shaped loaves of bread with odd surface-to-volume ratios: Crust absorbs liquid at a different rate than crumb, and with a different final result; too much crust = stiff, dry, crappy bread pudding. I generally use the teardrop- or football-shaped French loaves. I would avoid the round ones with very thick crusts, as well as anything like a ciabatta or baguette, even if they are technically “pound loaves”.
|Prep time: 45 minutes
|Cook time: 45 minutes
Goes Well With: chicken, white fish
Wine and Drink Pairings:
bread – 1 lb. loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes and staled overnight
asparagus – 2 lb.
milk, whole – 2 c
eggs, large – 6
kosher salt – 2 t
black pepper – 3/4 t
swiss cheese – 1/3 lb., coarsely grated (~2 c)
gruyere – 1/3 lb., coarsely grated (~2 c)
parmesan – 1/4 lb., finely grated (~1 c)
parsley – 1/2 c, finely chopped
oregano – 1/4 c, finely chopped
thyme – 1 T, finely chopped
butter – 2 T, softened
- Snap the asparagus: Hold each spear at both ends and bend until it snaps at the natural breaking point. Keep the tops and use the bottoms for something else (after peeling, they are good for soup).
- Cut the asparagus tops into 1-2â pieces (shorter with thick asparagus, longer with thin).
- Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water (1 min for thin, 2 min for thick) and plunge into ice water.
- Toss together the cheese and herbs. (Note: If youâre doing this far in advance, keep the grated cheese in the fridge; otherwise the swiss and gruyere will get gummy.)
- Whisk together the milk, eggs, salt and pepper.
- In a big bowl, toss the bread cubes with the milk/egg mixture. Let this sit and soak for 15 minutes or so. The liquid will not entirely cover the bread, so toss it gently once or twice during the soak so that all the bread gets a chance to be submerged. Be gentle.
- Preheat the oven to 375Â°F.
- Butter a casserole/baking dish (13âx9âx2â).
- Using a slotted spoon and shaking off excess liquid, scatter half the bread mixture on the bottom of the baking dish. Now scatter half the asparagus and half the cheese.
- You guessed it; do those three things again. If thereâs any milk/egg mixture left, pour that over the top.
- Place the dish on a center rack and cook for 40-45 minutes. The bread will puff, emerge from the liquid and cheese, and turn an enticing golden brown. Walk it around the kitchen and show it off.
- Cut into 8 entrÃ©e or 12-16 side portions and serve.