“Potager” asparagus bread pudding . . .
This was the first meal I made for my husband-to-be when we first met. The recipe can be found in Georgeanne Brennan’s classic cookbook, “Potager.” It consists of asparagus, old bread soaked in milk, swiss cheese, eggs and parmesan cheese.
Tonight, we’re having an early supper before driving into Lexington for a concert performed by the Concord Chorus of Bach B-Minor Mass at St. Brigid’s church. The weather has cooled off considerably, the sun is out and the sound of birds is loud and clear through our open windows.
I’ve been saving about a third of a loaf of my home baked oatmeal bread in the freezer. Warmed up in the microwave this morning, I took a portion and zinged up bread crumbs in my little Cuisinart food processor, noting that I use that kitchen appliance probably more than any other with the portable electric mixer coming in second. The ingredients are laid out in the kitchen and ready to go later this afternoon to put together.
Mid-afternoon, I quarter cut some fresh asparagus – about 10 spears and cooked them gently in some unsalted butter. I soaked the bread in a cup of whole milk and prepared a buttered casserole dish. After about 20 minutes, I hand squeezed the milk from the crumbs and arranged the milky bread in a layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Then, I added half the sauteed asparagus, seasoned with salt and pepper. On top of the asparagus, I sprinkled some grated swiss and parmesan cheese. Then, came another later of bread (squeezed dry,) asparagus and cheeses.
To this layered casserole, I added three extra large eggs beaten with about 3/4 cup of light cream (or you could use milk too) and poured it carefully all over the casserole so it was well combined. Into a preheated oven of 375, this asparagus bread pudding dish puffed up and looked golden brown in about 45 minutes.
Note: Sometimes the middle of the dish is not cooked as well as the ends, so another 5 minutes or so in the oven will ensure that you won’t get any soggy egg when you cut into the casserole. If it IS soggy, just serve the ends to yourselves and put the pan back into the still warm oven. When you take it out again – it will be cooked through.