One pan, some pork sausage browned, caramelized leeks and red spring onion tossed in behind to caramelize, then in go fiddlehead ferns to sauté with some garlic. All of this is tossed into a buttered baking dish over a cubed loaf of crusty country bread. It’s topped with grated Gruyere, and eggs and cream are poured over top. Then you’re just half an hour from crusty, custardy, savory goodness. Ever since our good friend Apur introduced us to the idea, we’ve been hooked. I suspect you will be, too. Substitute asparagus if you don’t find fiddleheads.
Savory Breakfast Bread Pudding with Fiddleheads, Sausage, Caramelized Leeks and Spring Onions, & Gruyere
Yield: about eight servings
butter for the baking dish
8 c. cubed crusty country-style bread
1 pound pork sausage
1 small leek, diced and rinsed thoroughly
1 large red spring onion (or another small leek), diced
1 ½ c. fiddlehead ferns, rubbed to remove their brown papery bits and washed thoroughly (or asparagus)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces Gruyere, grated
2 c. half and half (or 1 c. heavy cream and 1 c. whole milk)
salt and pepper to taste
¼ t. freshly grated nutmeg
- Butter a large baking dish and preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place the cubed bread in the pan.
- In a large skillet over low heat, brown the sausage, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon. When it is golden brown, remove it from the pan, and distribute it across the baking dish. No need to worry that it’s cooked through, as it will continue to cook in the oven.
- Wipe the excess fat from the skillet, leaving a bit behind. Add the leeks and spring onions and allow them to brown, stirring occasionally. When they are ready, distribute them in the baking dish.
- Add the fiddlehead ferns to the pan and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté them until they are softening and taking on a just bit of color. Add the garlic and stir for one minute. Distribute the fiddleheads and garlic in the baking dish.
- Scatter the grated cheese across the top of the baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Pour it evenly over the baking dish.
- Bake until the top of the bread pudding is golden brown and the inside is set but still moist, about 35 minutes.