29 July 2007

Pain Perdu aux Courgettes

The other day, I announced to W. that I was going to make a zucchini bread pudding for dinner - we had bread getting stale, and CSA zucchini to use up. He made gagging sounds, but I carried on. To his great surprise, and my great amusement, he sheepishly confessed that it was really good. But, he proposed a renaming, reasoning that a bread pudding by any other name would taste better.

Zucchini Bread Pudding, or, Pain Perdu aux Courgettes

1 onion, chopped
2 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cobs fresh corn, cut off the cob
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-6 cloves minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup snipped fresh basil
1/2 cup snipped fresh parsley
5 cups 1-inch sourdough or Italian bread cubes
4 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded (1 cup)*
2 cups milk*
5 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish; set aside. In a large skillet, sauté the onion in the oil. When the onion is translucent, add the zucchini and corn and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic, basil and parsley. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more or until zucchini is tender. Stir in bread.
  2. Place half of the mixture in prepared dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat layers. In a medium bowl whisk together milk, eggs, salt, and pepper. Pour over the bread mixture.
  3. Bake, uncovered, for 35-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Makes 5-6 main-dish servings.

I adapted this from a recipe I found on-line. I added the onion, bumped up the quantity of basil and parsley, dropped the sage and nuts and red peppers - mostly because it was all what I had around from the CSA. The original recipe called for half & half or heavy cream. I didn't have either, so I used 2% milk. I found that the pudding needed to cook rather longer than 35 minutes - more like 50 minutes - likely because of the milk issue. Also, I used what cheese I had in the fridge: a tiny bit of Swiss cheese, some diced fresh mozzarella and some grated aged Gouda.

The basic idea is a mess of lightly cooked vegtables tossed with bread and cheese, and made into a pudding/custard with the addition of eggs and milk or cream. It's adaptable, and, in this iteration, another disguise for zucchini. What's not to like?


Julie Pippert said...

I admit...love zucchini, love bread, love zucchini bread, love bread pudding, but was skeptical about zucchini bread pudding. New name is great!

The recipe sounds great and like a fabulous vehicle for delivering veggies to husband and children. :)

Maewen Archer said...

I was imagining sweet bread pudding which would be pretty gross, I think -- this sounds absolutely yummy, though!

Furrow said...

That sounds awfully good. Too bad we're not getting zucchini anymore. Still getting way to many darn cucumbers, though.

niobe said...

This almost makes me wish I hadn't given my last two zucchinis away. (last as in most recent, not as in final)