This is a great spring time recipe. Especially with asparagus season in full swing. This savory breading pudding is rich and very herbaceous. It’s great at room temperature with a simple garden salad or warm as a side to a roasted chicken.

Asparagus Bread Pudding

1 large loaf day old sweet Batard, outside removed (save and make into croutons for another day) torn into 1-inch pieces
1-cup milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1-pound asparagus, hard ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
4 ounces Fontina cheese, grated
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup chopped herbs, chives, Italian parsley, tarragon, and thyme
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces – plus more for buttering the dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.

In a saucepan slowly heat the milk and heavy cream just to a low simmer. Snap off the hard ends of the asparagus and blanch them in the milk and heavy cream mixture for approximately 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them seep, while the liquid is cooling for 30 minutes.

Discard the hard stems from the milk mixture and add the beaten eggs, chopped herbs, grated cheeses and the salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the bread to soak.

Fold the asparagus into the bread mixture and place into a buttered casserole dish. Dot the top of the casserole with butter and bake until firm approximately 40-45 minutes.

Serves 8

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