Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Friday, November 07, 2003
Hearty comforting nourishment is a welcome buffer to November's encroaching chill. This recipe, modified from one in a November 1999 issue of Gourmet, was my first encounter with a savory bread pudding.
As two or three slices from various loaves of bread always clutter my breadbox and freezer, this recipe, or any bread pudding for that matter, can resurrect these old bits into a great new comfort food glory.

If you want to dazzle at a holiday brunch, this dish, which puffs golden brown and smells heavenly, makes a fantastic presentation and tastes better than it looks.

Ham ‘n Swiss and Spinach Bread Pudding
Oven to 350

¾ pound of old Bread slices
½ stick of soft Butter
2 Onions, chopped
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 pound cooked Ham, chunked
4 large Eggs
2 cups heavy Cream
1 cup milk
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp ground Sage
1 pound baby leaf Spinach
¾ pound Swiss cheese, grated

Butter Bread slices and bake on cookie sheet in oven 1-15 minutes, or until golden. Cool.
Sauté Onions in Olive Oil until golden. Cool in bowl. Add butter to skillet and sauté Spinach eliminating as mush moisture as possible. Cool in bowl and add well-drained canned Spinach if amount not enough. Cook Ham chunks in skillet to brown slightly and eliminate moisture. Cool.
Spray an 11" X 14” X 2 ½“ baking dish with non stick spray.
Beat Eggs in a large bowl. Add Cream, Milk, Salt and Sage and beat to blend.
Cover bottom of baking dish with toasted Bread reserving Bread ends for top layer. Cover Bread slices with a generous layer of Ham, then layers of Spinach, Onion and Cheese. Cover with another layer of toasted Bread and repeat with Ham, Spinach, Onion and grated Swiss. Make a pattern with remaining slices of Bread and ends. Cover with remaining Ham, Spinach, Onion and Cheese.
Slowly ladle Egg and Cream mixture over combined Bread and Ham layers totally saturating top layer.
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until puffed, golden and appears firm.

I get many requests for this dish and recently made it with Bread ends from 5 different bakeries and specialty shops...wonderful!

Photo: Gourmet
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