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Asparagus and Wild mushroom Bread Pudding – Oh Yeah!

Erin’s asparagus mushroom bread pudding

Now if this isn’t serendipitous, I don’t know what is. I was weeding the asparagus patch and lamenting that it’s the middle of April and not 1 asparagus has poked through the soil. Ditto for wild morel mushrooms.

Well, my neighbor Erin Phillips, who lives across the road, made a batch of asparagus and wild mushroom bread pudding. “Would you like some?” she asked. I’ve never answered “yes” so fast in my life. I met her at the kitchen door and truth be told, I had my first taste with my fingers.

Erin was generous enough to share the recipe. It’s not a heavy textured bread pudding. The flavors of the asparagus and mushrooms come through in a delicate balance.

 

Asparagus and wild mushroom bread pudding

Erin adapted the recipe from Deborah Madison’s
“Local Flavors” by Broadway Books.

Ingredients

1 generous handful garlic chives or 3 cloves smashed garlic

3 cups milk

1 pound firm white or multigrain bread, cut into thick slices

1-2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut on diagonal into small pieces

4 tablespoons butter

2-3 tablespoons shallot, finely diced

4 large eggs

12-16 oz. wild mushroom blend, cleaned and coarsely chopped (You can substitute Cremini mushrooms)

1/3 cup chopped parsley

3 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups grated Swiss cheese

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 pan.

Combine chives or garlic and milk in pan. Bring to boil, remove from heat and let steep about 5 minutes.

If the bread is not stale, lay on cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes just until a bit crisp. If you don’t do this the pudding will be mushy.

Break bread into chunks and put into large dish.

Strain milk, pour over bread and let it sit while you prepare the veggies, turning bread occasionally so that it soaks up as much liquid as possible.

Blanch asparagus by filling a large skillet 2/3 of the way with water and bring to a boil. Lightly salt water and add asparagus pieces. Cook about 3 minutes or until crisp tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

Melt half the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add mushrooms. Increase heat to high and cook for several minutes, stirring, until mushrooms brown in places and exude their liquid. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Whisk eggs in bowl until smooth. Add parsley, tarragon, and salt and pepper if you like.

Add soaked bread and any liquid left in dish, the asparagus-mushroom mixture and its juices and 2/3 of the cheese, mixing well. Pour into prepared pan and even mixture out.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese and dot with remaining butter.

Bake 45=60 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Let cool a few minutes before serving.

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