Savory bread puddings are unusual, but they're great to keep in your cooking repertoire because they serve a dual function as both vegetable and starch. Just about any vegetable will work in this recipe, as long as you make sure it's cooked before combining it with the bread cubes, custard, and cheese. This combo of broccoli and Swiss Emmanthaler cheese is delicious, sure to garner fans whenever you serve it.
|4 cups||stale French bread (cut into 1/4-inch cubes)|
|1 1/2 pounds||broccoli crowns (separated into florets, small stalks included)|
|1 cup||fresh garlic (minced)|
|1 3/4 cups||grated Swiss Emmanthaler cheese (6 ounces)|
|2 cups||half & half|
|Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)|
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9x12-inch baking dish and arrange the bread cubes in a single layer. Set aside.
Steam the broccoli until it’s just tender. When cool, roughly chop the broccoli and set it aside.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and gently stir in the broccoli. Spread the mixture atop the bread cubes, then sprinkle the cheese evenly over the mixture.
Whisk the eggs in a medium-size bowl, then add the half and half and keep whisking to combine thoroughly. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour the custard over the vegetable-bread mixture; press the mixture down with a spatula to ensure the custard is well distributed. Bake until the pudding is puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. Cut into squares and serve hot.