Lately I have become obsessed with puddings… Good or bad, I have never really cared about dessert puddings. I would always choose cakes or pies or cookies or ice cream, you name it, before I would think of assembling a dessert pudding.
But savory bread puddings are another story. Really they are just one step away from STUFFING, which is probably the best invention ever for eating corn bread! And really, they are just one more step away from BAKED ONION SOUP, which is definitely the best invention ever for eating giant croutons!
So, what is not to love about a dish of rustic toasted bread layered with onions and garlic and cheese, all tucked amongst slices of slightly sweet yellowy squash happily soaking up the savory goo collecting all around it… (Wow that is a mouthful.) Just like this dish…
This is another recipe from Nigel Slater’s new cookbook, Tender, one of only two souvenirs I brought home from Ireland – the other being some silly rainbow-colored silicon measuring spoons. It is organized by vegetable, a concept that is starting to pop up in other cookbooks as well, and is wonderfully useful in an ingredient driven kitchen!
Trust me when I tell you this dish is other-worldly – and you can use any hard-skinned squash you have on hand. Plus, Ur Dad said three times, “This is reaaally good. What is in it again???” Success!
1 Hard-Skinned Squash: Acorn, Butternut, Pumpkin, etc
4 Thick Slices of Artisan Bread
1 Small Onion, sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, worked into a paste with salt
Pinch of Thyme
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Cup Grated Gruyere Cheese
2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
3 Cups Low Sodium Organic Chicken Broth
Olive Oil for Drizzling
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Peel and cut the squash into thin slices. Toast the bread.
Sauté the onion in a little olive oil until soft and beginning to caramelize.
In a small to medium size casserole dish fit the toasted bread into the bottom, reserving at least one of the slices to cut into croutons for the top.
Spread the onions and the garlic paste over the bread. Sprinkle lightly with thyme, salt and pepper.
Lay the squash slices over the onion and garlic. Spread the grated cheeses over the squash.
Cut large croutons from the reserved bread. Spread over the top.
Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the layers. Drizzle olive oil over the assembled dish.
Cover and bake 45 minutes. Check to see if the squash is tender. When tender, remove the lid and let go another 15 minutes or so to crisp up the croutons.