Bread pudding with bacon, mushrooms, feta
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon white pepper or to taste
3 cups stale firm-textured multigrain bread, torn into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced wild mushrooms (about 4 ounces)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
5 ounces sliced Canadian bacon, finely chopped (1 cup)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or parsley
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. In a large bowl, beat the half-and-half, milk, eggs, salt and pepper together until smooth. Add the bread and let stand for 15 minutes to absorb the liquid.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme and saute until the onion is lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally.
Combine the mushroom mixture, Canadian bacon, feta and tarragon with the bread, gently turning until just blended. Do not overmix. Scrape into the baking dish and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle on the grated cheese; return the dish to the oven and bake until the top is puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Remove and let stand for a few minutes before cutting into squares and serving. Serves 4 to 6.
- From the book "Seduced by Bacon," distributed by the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service.