I must admit, I am a chauvinistic, sexist pig. I like boobs, I like butt and I have strained my neck a time or two watching a hot young thing walk by. That said, I am a bit of a contrarian when it comes to cooking shows. Women TV personalities drive me f___king crazy. Be it the bobble headed, Italian hottie (Giada DeLaurentiis) or the wild haired restaurant chef (Anne Burrell), women chefs are like nails on a chalk board. Give me Emeril, Guy or “Booby” Flay any day over those Food Network hens. I digress.
They say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. As hard as that is for me to adhere to, I have conceded on this recipe. It comes from Emeril Lagasse and has been a holiday staple in our house for many years. It sounds a bit odd, but trust me when I say, this is worth the time and effort.
Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding
3 T unsalted butter
3 c yellow onions, julienned
2 t salt
½ t cayenne pepper
¼ t black pepper
3 c wild mushrooms *
1 T garlic, chopped
2 c heavy cream
¼ t Tabasco sauce
1 t Worcestershire sauce
8 slices, 1 inch cubed white bread (approx. 4 c)**
½ c Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2 quart glass rectangle pan with 1 tablespoon butter. In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, about 1 minute. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cayenne, black pepper and sauté for 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs for 30 seconds. Add heavy cream, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce. Whisk the mixture until fully incorporated. Stir in the sautéed mushrooms. Add bread cubes and mix well. Pour filling into greased pan. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for 55 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
* If wild mushrooms aren’t available, plain white mushrooms can be substituted
** Stale bread absorbs more of the filling and works better than fresh bread. If you bread is fresh, toast the bread in the oven for a bit to remove some of the moist. Also, stale, sour dough bread gives the dish a nice flavor and is a good substitute for white bread. I can’t leave well enough alone. I told you I was a bit of a contrarian…..is contrarian actually a word?