March 28, 2011

Figgy Pudding

Last Sunday, eight days ago, I made a savory bread pudding according to the method described on Shallots Web.

bread pudding

I haven't made a second, which, if you can't tell from the photo, has required remarkable restraint on my part.

Spoiler alert: this savory dish contains no figs. I've named this post after a dear friend and the author of Shallots Web, Mr. John Newton, whose last name invites a certain fruity nickname that has been expanded over the years to include such names as Fignatious, Mr. Figglesworth, and my own twee contribution, Figgy Pudding. We met in grad school, so my love for him hinges not at all on the fact that he's an excellent cook and bartender.

Seriously, I know the coolest people. If you'll forgive a cliche, try this pudding - the proof, it is there. (And if you won't forgive a cliche, it's your loss if you discount the pudding.)

At the time of baking, I didn't have a ton of leftover veggies or anything, but attempted the dish anyway, with some not-so-healthy additions, because it looked and sounded so frakkin' delicious. For the bread, I used half a day-old French baguette, which I tossed in a mixture of
  • 2 eggs
  • maybe 2-3 tablespoons of milk
  • half an onion, diced and caramelized the day before
  • maybe 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices of bacon, microwaved and diced
    Then I shredded a small chunk of gouda over the whole thing and baked it for 35 minutes. In a gratin dish, because I like to be fancy. Prep time amounted to, I don't know. Like, a second. This is really easy.

    The results were a lot drier than your typical dessert bread pudding, largely because I feared too moist a mixture would take too long to bake - we were anxious to get to Southie and scout out a good spot for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. And, of course, being savory, there was no sugary, buttery sauce poured over it all. Still, I really loved eating this. The bread cubes were softened on the inside but golden brown and chewy outside, and the cheese and bacon clinging to each bite certainly didn't hurt anything.

    I'm already fantasizing about changing this up a bit for different occasions. It would be a wonderful way to use up leftovers of my famous ham. And speaking of ham, I think bits of prosciutto, chopped apple, and dried cranberries would be a delicious stuffing alternative alongside poultry. As far as cheese replacements, I have some crumbled bleu I'm going to have to use up soon, and I think I've just decided its fate.

    If you try this, let me (and Fig!) know. And tell your friends - we can all work together to make Savory Bread Pudding the new cool brunch/side dish.