I've been making a lot of savory bread puddings lately. They're a great easy way to use up stale bread and whatever veggies you have on hand. You can pretty much add just about anything you'd like. This recipe sparked it all, and I then came across a healthier version from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks in Food and Wine this month. Her combination of lemon, feta and dijon is pitch perfect. I could easily snarf down the whole pan of it.
Spinach Bread Pudding with Lemon and Feta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the dish
8 ounces whole wheat bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 ounces baby spinach, finely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 large eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a medium baking dish. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until dry but not browned. Let cool, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the spinach and 1/4 cup of the feta.
In another bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the mustard, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the eggs and beat until blended. Add the milk and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and stir until they are evenly moistened. Transfer the bread mixture to the baking dish and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.
Sprinkle the remaining feta on the bread pudding and bake in the center of the oven until risen and set, about 40 minutes. Turn on the broiler. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and broil until the bread pudding is golden and crispy on top, about 2 minutes. Scatter the oregano on top, cut into squares and serve.
Okay, so here's the disclaimer: I made a lot of changes to this recipe. Not because it needed changing — it doesn't! I used kale instead of spinach and since it takes a bit longer to cook, I sauteed it with a bit of shallot and the couple of cremini mushrooms I had hanging out in the veggie bin. I also made about half this recipe, but only had two eggs and didn't wan to wait two hours for it to all soak in together. So after assembling the whole lot, I poured a bit of broth over the other thing to top up the liquid. Crazy, right? It worked! And, I didn't let it sit for two hours, I just put it right in the oven. I also skipped the toasting of the bread because it was already several days old and dry as can be! You could do a whole lot with this basic concept — I've added sweet potatoes to the mix before, or leeks — all delicious!
Have a happy, cozy weekend!