Savory Bread Pudding With Broccoli and Goat Cheese
For this comforting gratin, broccoli is briefly steamed and seasoned with garlic and thyme before being tossed with the bread, eggs, goat cheese and milk. You can include tomatoes if you can still find good ones.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 5to 6 ounces stale baguette or whole wheat country bread, crusts removed, cut into 3/4-inch slices if it isn’t too hard to cut (see note)
- 1 ½cups milk (low-fat or regular)
- 2large garlic cloves, 1 cut in half, 1 minced
- ½pound broccoli crowns
- 1tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2teaspoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 4ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- 4large eggs
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1pound ripe, firm tomatoes, sliced (optional)
Step 1Rub the bread slices, front and back, with the cut clove of garlic. Cut into cubes. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 cup of the milk and let sit while you prepare the other ingredients. Note: If the bread is too hard to cut safely, place the whole chunk in a bowl with 1 cup of the milk. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer, turning the bread in the milk every once in a while. Remove the bowl with the soaked bread from the refrigerator. Break up the bread with your hands. Using a wooden spoon, a whisk or an immersion blender, mash or beat the soaked bread so that the mixture turns into a mush.
Step 2In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and goat cheese. Beat in the milk. Add salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon), a few twists of pepper and the bread, along with any milk remaining in the bowl in which you soaked the bread. Stir well to combine. Let sit for 15 to 30 minutes.
Step 3Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub the sides of a 2-quart baking dish or gratin with the cut side of a garlic clove. Oil or butter the dish. Mince any remaining garlic from the halves you used to rub the bread and the dish. Break up the broccoli crowns into florets and steam for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and cut the florets into 1/2-inch slices, or chop coarsely.
Step 4Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the minced garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and stir in 1 teaspoon of the thyme, the broccoli, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir together for a minute, until the broccoli is nicely seasoned, and remove from the heat. Stir into the bread mixture.
Step 5Scrape the bread mixture into the baking dish. If including tomatoes, scrape in half the bread mixture and layer half the tomatoes on top. Spread the remaining bread mixture over the tomatoes and top with the remaining tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the remaining thyme and drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place in the oven and bake 50 minutes, until puffed, set and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve hot or warm.