The impulsive purchases from a local Farmer’s Market is transformed to a delectable Savory Bread Pudding, inspired by the Italian Strata. The depth of flavor is from the Rye Batard from the local baker; umami from maitake (hen of the woods) and morel mushrooms from a CSA farmer; je ne sais quoi from baba ganoush (eggplant sauce) from a Mediterranean stand. Simple to slap together with a few more pantry ingredients. Enjoy!
Blender; Loaf pan, parchment paper.
- Building Block Layers:
- 1 maitake mushroom (sliced into 4 steak pieces, 1.5 cm thick, browned on each side on a dry pan for at least 2 minutes)
- 8 slices of rye batard, each about 3/4 inch thick
- Flavor base: maitake mushroom crumbs + 4 morel mushrooms diced + 1 quarter onion diced (dry roasted on thick bottom pan, deglazed with a little dry white wine from your cellar)
- Liquid: 1 cup baba ganoush + 2 cups milk + 3 eggs + 1/4 cup chili EVOO
- Spices: 2 tsps harissa powder + garlic salt to taste
Add all ingredients, except building block layers, in the blender and liquify until smooth.
In a sealable (tupperware box) lay the bread and maitake steaks in alternate layers. Pour the liquid over the layers to cover. Seal the box and let soak overnight or for about 4 hours. Turn the box around for the liquid to penetrate evenly on all siders. Or, soak until all the liquid is absorbed.
Unload onto a parchment paper and transfer with the parchment onto a loaf pan (or any other baking dish of your choice). Bake at 350 F for 1 hr, or until done and lightly browned on top.
Let cool for 10-15 mins. Slice (or spoon).
NOTES, HINTS, TIPS:
- The traditional strata uses stale bread and the sauce is usually cheese and eggs to hold it all together. This is very delicious too. I wanted to experiment with alternatives here and it turned out to be a hit!
- The one above is a quick one with fresh Baba ganoush from the Farmer’s Market, but you can make your own eggplant sauce. Eggplants are not be frowned on- recall their French elevation, aubergine caviar!
- The baking time may depend on the kind of baking dish you use– if you use a large bottom baking pan, it will take a shorter time, so keep an eye on it. The compact loaf pan that I used, takes a slightly longer time.
- The parchment paper is both a convenient way of moving the content from the soaking pan to the loaf pan and also helps brown and unmould.