Saturday, October 1, 2011

savory bread puddings

That is my take on something that the smitten kitchen called scalloped tomatoes with croutons, but really turned out more like a savory bread pudding.

I pretty much followed the recipe, just scaled wayyy down, which means I totally fudged the amounts. First I sauteed the Italian bread cubes in a little olive oil, and then I added diced tomatoes, minced garlic, sugar, salt and pepper, cooking for five minutes. All that's left is adding a little basil, putting in a baking dish and topping it all off with grated Parmesan. Thirty five to forty five minutes later, you've got a warm, gooey casserole.

It's definitely tasty, and like any good bread pudding it's got that perfect textural blend of crispy, soft and custardy. It isn't necessarily the best showcase of the delicious tomatoes we've still got this time of year, but if you've got as many as Laura and I do from the food co-op, it's definitely a good way to use up some of that surplus.

It also happens to be very similar to a little breakfast dish I threw together back in May, when I found a somewhat withered acorn squash languishing in the back of the fridge. Since I obviously can't throw anything out, I chopped up what was still salvageable, tossed it with some stale cubed bread, diced scallion and whatever cheese I had in the fridge, plus a little milk to keep everything from drying out in the oven. You know, that whole "throw something together based on whatever is left lying around" mentality. I'm a big proponent of such cooking.

Basically, if you've got stale Italian or French bread, you can probably make a bread pudding, and a savory one can be pretty unexpectedly and delicious. A great brunch or breakfast item, or even a rustic dinner, this is definitely a great dish to keep in your back pocket.

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