OK, let’s begin with Tartine Bread’s savory bread pudding. Matt is going to fiercely disagree with me about leading off with this dish, but then again this blog isn’t called Matt's Top Picks now is it?
If my blog template would allow me, I'd give it an emoji score of two smiley faces, two hearts, and one lady with a surgical mask (to connote that I was sick when I ate it).
What's up next? In the words of Ira Glass, "Stay with us."
Savory Bread Pudding via Tartine Bread
Note: You can assemble the dish a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator, letting it come to room temperature before baking. Bake the pudding an hour before you want to serve it.
For the filling
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
½ c. dry white wine
2 lbs. assorted mushrooms (like chanterelles and porcini), stems trimmed and caps halved
1 head Treviso or other radicchio, leaves separated
For the custard
5 large eggs
½ tsp. salt
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2/3 c. grated Gruyere or cheddar cheese
3 oz. smoked ham, chopped
2 slices day-old French bread, torn into large chunks
½ c. grated Gruyere or cheddar cheese
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until soft, 6-8 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the wine evaporates, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is smoking, arrange the mushrooms cut-side down in the pan and cook without stirring until seared and caramelized, about 1 minute more. Stir the mushrooms, add the radicchio, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste. Remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 375º.
To make the custard, in a bowl, whisk the eggs and salt until well blended. Add the cream, milk, pepper, nutmeg, thyme, cheese, and ham, and whisk to combine.
Place the bread chunks in an 8-inch souffle dish and add the leeks, mushrooms, and radicchio. Pour in the custard so that it comes all the way to the rim. Sprinkle evenly with the grated cheese. Let stand 8-10 minutes until the custard saturates the bread.
Bake until the custard is no longer runny in the center, about 50 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.