In October 2010 the NY Times published a very touching article about Thomas Keller and his father including a recipe from "Ad Hoc At Home" for Leek Bread Pudding. This recipe is an adaptation of that. It kind of reminds me of a casserole my mother used to make with canned artichoke hearts, canned French style green beans (remember those?), and Italian seasoned bread crumbs. I kept Keller's combination of thyme and chives because I like it, but any combination of fresh herbs will work.
6 as main dish; 12 as side
large sweet onion, sliced
loaf challah or brioche, crusts removed, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups)
Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add butter it melts and starts to foam, add sliced onions with a bit of salt. Turn heat to medium low, and cook onions, turning them occasionally, until they are soft and browned. This could take a little while, but it adds a lot of flavor. Stir in artichoke heart pieces, and continue to cook over medium low heat until the artichoke pieces are very soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. While artichokes and onions are sauteeing, spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dry and pale gold, about 15 minutes, turning pan about halfway through. Move the bread to a large bowl, and leave the oven on.
Add artichoke and onion mixture, chives and thyme to the bowl of bread; toss well. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
In another large bowl, whisk eggs well, then whisk in milk. Pour this mixture over the bread. Let the bread soak up the milk mixture, stirring occasionally so it's all well blended.
Pour a teaspoon or so of olive oil in the bottom of an 8X8 baking dish and spread it around. Sprinkle 1/3 of shredded Swiss cheese in bottom. Spread 1/2 bread mixture over cheese, and sprinkle with half the remaining cheese. Spread remaining bread mixture in pan, and sprinkle with the rest of the Swiss cheese. Grate parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake until pudding is set and top is brown and bubbling, about 1 hour. If the top isn't browning to your liking, turn the broiler on for the last 5 minutes, but watch it carefully. Serve hot or at room temperature.