SAVORY BREAD PUDDING WITH KALE, TOMATOES, & BACON
Kajsa Alger, my partner at STREET was playing around with alternatives to stuffings, which thrilled me because stuffings are not my most favorite side dish. This dish is the perfect fix. I loved it when she made the dish in a loaf pan and let it sit after coming out of the oven. It set into a loaf that was layered and can be sliced. So, on a buffet you could have this warm and sliced or partially sliced and it’s gorgeous, or as a left over the next morning, I cut it into slices about 1inch thick, warmed it in a 350 degree oven or you can broil it and served it as the side for breakfast with a fried egg and sliced tomatoes, drizzled with xvoo and salt. It could also be dipped in egg, like French toast, browned and then served with a fried egg on top as a breakfast sandwich. Think of it in this way, and many ideas will come to you. BLT??
Yield: 1 loaf pan
13 oz. French bread, sliced in 1/4” slices
4 oz. butter + 2 Tbl for pan
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped chives
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 bunch kale (6 oz.), washed and cut into thin strips
1 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 cups diced tomato
3 slices bacon, cut in strips
2 cups diced white onion (1 each)
2 Tbl canola oil
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup grated pecorino, gruyere or similar cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Soften 2 Tbl butter. Butter the loaf pan.
Lay slices of bread on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Melt the butter in a small pan. When frothy, add garlic and chives, 1/2 tsp salt and the pepper. Turn off heat and let everything continue to cook in the residual heat of the butter. Spoon over bread and then toast in the oven until golden brown. Approx 10 minutes.
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat with 1 Tbl olive oil. Add the kale and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir and cook 2 -3 minutes until wilted and slightly soft. Turn off heat. Add juice of 1/2 lemon. Stir. Remove from heat and set aside.
Separately, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, put the canola oil, onion and bacon. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown and bacon fat is rendered out (approximately 12 minutes). Add tomato. Cook another 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Place the mixture in a bowl and set aside.
In a bowl beat the eggs and then add the chicken stock and stir. Add approx 1 tsp kosher salt, depending on how salty your stock is.
Place the bread in the egg/stock mixture and soak until softened, 4-5 minutes. It will get somewhat soft, but not soggy.
Start layering the loaf pan:
1 layer of bread, 1 layer of kale, 1 layer of cheese, 1 layer of the onion/bacon/tomato mix
Repeat the layers. Finish with one last layer of bread and cheese (2 times for all ingredients except for bread and cheese, which have 3 layers). Pour remaining egg/stock mixture over the top.
Place in oven, center of rack and bake for 45 minutes, uncovered.
Remove from oven and let cool at room temp. You can serve this immediately and it will be soft and servable with a spoon. Or, you can make a day in advance, let it cool in the refrigerator, and when it’s cold, slice into beautiful slices and reheat those slices in the oven (with a little bit of chicken poured over the top to keep them moist).
*note: if you are going to chill and cut into slices, it is better to unmold while it has cooled to room temperature, but is not yet cold. To do this, run a small knife along the edge of the pan and turn over onto a flat surface. Lightly tap the bottom of the pan and the loaf should just slip out. You can refrigerate it, covered in plastic wrap, at this point.
For Susan Feniger’s full story, click here