I love savory bread puddings. They are the kind of one dish meal that I could eat every day, since you can use virtually any combination of vegetables, cheese and meat that you have on hand. This one contrasts a crispy bread top with a soft, silky, pudding bottom, incorporating sweet, salty, and slightly spicy flavors. Studded with slow roasted tomatoes and ribbons of kale it has a festive appearance that makes it perfect for a holiday meal. —gingerroot
For Slow Roasted Tomatoes
large cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
garlic cloves, minced
pinches of sea salt
pinches of sugar
extra virgin olive oil
In the morning:
Unsalted butter for the casserole
plus 1 Tablespoon chevre
day old baguette, sliced and cubed (for about 7 cups of cubes) - I used a frozen baguette that I let sit out for twenty minutes or so before cutting
links spicy Italian sausage (can substitute sweet Italian sausage if you prefer)
cup finely chopped onion
large garlic cloves, minced
cups chopped kale leaves (I used a mixture of lacinato and curly kale)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using the tip of a sharp knife, gently scrape and scoop tomato halves to remove most of the seeds.
Arrange tomato halves on paper, topping each with minced garlic. Sprinkle tomato halves with salt and sugar. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until wrinkled and mostly dry. Start checking at 45 minutes to make sure they do not burn. Make tomatoes in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight; be sure to allow tomatoes to come up to room temperature before using.
In the morning:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large 13x9x2 ovenproof casserole dish. Set aside
In a small bowl, combine cheeses, breaking up large chunks with a fork. Set aside.
Remove casings and sauté sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, using a wooden spoon to crumble sausage. Cook until browned on all sides. Remove sausage with a spoon (not slotted) and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
Add onion and garlic to hot pan with sausage drippings. Cook, stirring, until onion begins to get translucent, about two minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add kale and cook, stirring until wilted and bright green. Remove pan from heat.
Stir in slow roasted tomatoes and cooked sausage.
Layer about 1/2 of the bread cubes in bottom of baking dish. Follow with 1/2 of the sausage-tomato-kale mixture, and then dot with ½ of the cheese mixture. Repeat layers once more to use all of sausage-tomato-kale, cheese, and bread.
Whisk eggs with half-and-half and milk. Stir in basil ribbons. Season with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; since the sausage and cheese add a lot of salt you do not need a lot. Pour evenly over bread-sausage-tomato-kale-cheese mixture.
Using the back of a spoon, gently press down on bread cubes to soak up liquid. There will not be enough liquid to submerge the bread, this is okay. This will ensure that the top is crispy and the bottom soft.
Bake bread pudding in the middle oven for about 50-55 minutes. Bread top should be golden and the pudding fragrant. Allow to cool for a bit and then serve immediately. Enjoy!
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.