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Asparagus And Morel Bread Pudding

serves 6

Green garlic (immature garlic whose leaves are still green) is simmered with the milk for flavor. Dried mushrooms will work for this dish as well.

Read more about this recipe at the Washington Post



ingredients

1 head green garlic, coarsely chopped (may substitute 8 to 10 cloves regular garlic)
3 cups whole or low-fat milk
1 pound loaf firm white or multigrain bread, cut into thick slices (preferably stale)
1 to 2 pounds peeled asparagus, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1/3-inch pieces and soaked in cold water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely diced (2 to 3 tablespoons)
1/2 to 1 pound morel or chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
4 large eggs
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon or marjoram leaves
2 cups freshly grated Fontina or Gruyere cheese

timer

prep: 30 minutes
total: 1 hour 30 minutes

tools

8 x 12-inch baking dish
medium saucepan
baking sheet
strainer
skillet
medium nonstick skillet
large bowl


instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8 x 12-inch baking or gratin dish.

2. Combine the garlic and milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then remove from the heat and set aside to steep (5 to 8 minutes).
 
3. If the bread is not stale, lay it on a large baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until crisp (but not hard, or the pudding will be mushy). Break the bread into chunks and put it in a large dish. Pour the milk through a strainer over the bread (discarding the garlic) and let it sit while you prepare the vegetables, turning the bread occasionally so that it soaks up as much of the liquid as possible.
 
4. Fill a large skillet 2/3 of the way with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lightly salt the water and add the asparagus pieces; cook about 3 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp but still tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
 
5. Melt half the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the mushrooms. Increase the heat to high and cook for several minutes, stirring, until the mushrooms brown in places and exude their liquid. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
6. Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the parsley, tarragon or marjoram, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add the soaked bread and any liquid left in the dish, the asparagus-mushroom mixture and its juices and 2/3 of the cheese, mixing well. Pour into the prepared baking or gratin dish and use a spatula to even it out. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and dot with the remaining butter. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until puffed and golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
 
Adapted from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors.


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