Filed Under: Asparagus, Breakfast, brunch, Cheese, filling, Ham, Lunch, pudding, wholesome

Savory Asparagus, Ham, and Brie Pudding

The perfect dish for brunch, lunch, or dinner, and be sure to let it sit for at least a couple of hours, before baking it to achieve great results.

June 27th, 2017

From The Harvest Baker, by Ken Haedrich

You may know this casserole made with leftover pieces of bread as a “strata,” but no matter what you call it, this is casual home cooking at its best. I bake a lot of harvest yeast breads, and there’s no better way to repurpose the odds and ends than by turning them into pillowy-soft savory pudding with melty cheese, fresh asparagus, and ham. (Slightly dry bread is actually better than fresh because it absorbs more liquid.) Broccoli and spinach are good stand-ins, if asparagus is not in season. Serve it for brunch, lunch, or dinner, and be sure to let it sit for at least a couple of hours, even overnight, before baking so the custard has plenty of time to saturate the bread.
Servings
8 servings
Ingredients
  • Butter for the casserole dish
  • 6 cups leftover cubed yeast bread (not sweet bread)
  • 1/2 pound fresh asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4–1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6–8 ounces Brie cheese, cut into small chunks (leave the rind on)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar or fontina cheese
  • 1 cup diced cooked ham or smoked sausage
Directions
  1. Butter a medium-size shallow casserole dish. Spread the cubed bread out in the casserole dish while you’re doing your prep, to help dry it out.

  2. Peel the lower third of each asparagus spear with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. Cut off the tender tips, and slice the remainder of the spears into 1-inch sections. (If you’d rather not use the lower sections, you’ll need about a pound of asparagus.)

  3. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the asparagus tips and chopped spears along with the garlic and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the asparagus is not quite tender. Remove from the heat.

  4. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the half-and-half, mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper. Whisk well.

  5. Spoon the cooked vegetables evenly over the bread, then distribute the Brie, cheddar, and ham over that. Whisk the custard briefly, and pour it slowly over everything. Using a large spoon, gently press on the solids so they’re submerged by the custard. Cover the dish loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours; overnight is fine.

  6. When you’re ready to bake the pudding, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Remove the foil from the dish and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. When the pudding is done, it will have puffed nicely and the surface will be golden brown. To check the center, carefully—so you don’t leave a big crater—dig into it with a spoon or butter knife and see how it looks. It should not be soupy or look like there’s a lot of uncooked custard. Transfer the pudding to a cooling rack and cool briefly before serving.

Savory Asparagus, Ham, and Brie Pudding
Johnny Autry

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