The cookbook Down to Earth: Great Recipes for Root Vegetables
has been tempting me for some years with its Green Onion and Gruyere Bread Pudding recipe. Not that I ever particularly intended to make the recipe as presented, since that would be alien to my character, but the notion of doing something savory and useful with stale bread has always been appealing.
I finally got around to it, which makes sense given that I should have been working on my book proposal, preparing the midterms, or at least scouring the sink.
My result, which is not all that much like the original beyond being a savory bread pudding, proved edible. I'm not entirely sure what one does to make the pudding avoid the standard drowned-bread stickiness, but it's true I didn't follow the recipe's direction to squeeze the soaked bread "as dry as possible" since the recipe indicated that the bread would be re-inundated and I believe in cutting out unnecessary steps.
Basically, I did the following:
Submerged about 10 smallish slices of bread (which already had baked-in nuts and cheese bits) in about 2 cups of "milk." The recipe called for 4 cups, but all I had was some half-and-half and some vanilla soymilk, so I combined these with water and hoped 2 cups total was enough. It certainly was. I don't know what would have become of the other 2 cups of milk. Probably a deluge.
Meanwhile (as the oven heated to 375), I beat 3 eggs.
I then chopped up a smallish onion and threw the pieces into a buttered 9x12-ish pan.
Getting more adventurous, I added four leftover olives of various types (chopped), quite a few capers, about half a jalapeno (given the tame nature of Pennsylvania jalapenos, it could probably have been 2), some walnut pieces, quite a bit of Parmesan cheese, and the remains of some Swiss cheese and an unidentified soft smoked French cheese.
I mixed all of this stuff together with wild abandon in the baking dish and shoved it into the oven, where it baked for about 40 minutes until the knife came out clean from the center.
I think it could have had more olives and cheese, and perhaps a few capers fewer, but other than the inevitable semi-sogginess, it was pretty good.