Dear SOS: I was recently in San Francisco and had brunch at Serpentine in an area called Dogpatch. They made the most incredible savory bread pudding — the bread was combined with summer squash, zucchini and sweet corn among other things. I don't think an order of it would ship well — any chance you can get the recipe so I can make it myself?
Dear Debbie: Executive chef Deepak Kaul was happy to share Serpentine's recipe for savory bread pudding. He mentions that you can substitute whatever seasonal vegetables you like, and that the restaurant has used fall and summer squashes, sweet corn, fresh spring peas and wild nettles. The version we tested combines sweet carrots with smoky ham and is scented with earthy sage and tied together with creamy Gruyère.
Savory bread pudding
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Servings: 12 to 16
Note: Adapted from Serpentine Restaurant in San Francisco.
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 onions, cut into small dice
2 large carrots, cut into medium dice
6 cups cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, from about ⅓ ounce fresh
2 cups cubed Gruyère
1 1/3 cups diced ham
Salt and pepper
10 cups cubed stale levain bread
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 4 teaspoons canola oil, then the onions. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 30 minutes.
3. While the onions are cooking, toss the carrots with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and spread on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast the carrots in the oven until tender and just beginning to color, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. When the onions are caramelized, stir in the heavy cream and sage and continue to cook until the cream comes to a simmer. Remove from heat.
5. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Slowly temper the cream mixture into the egg mixture (add a little cream at a time, so the eggs don't scramble). Stir in the Gruyère, carrots and ham, then season with 1 tablespoon salt and one-half teaspoon pepper, or to taste. Stir in the cubed bread.
6. Pour the mixture into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and cover with foil. Place the dish in a larger baking dish and then place the dishes in the oven. Fill the larger dish with hot water halfway up the dish with the bread pudding to form a hot-water bath.
7. Bake the bread pudding until it is puffed and set, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
Each of 16 servings: 507 calories; 13 grams protein; 16 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 44 grams fat; 25 grams saturated fat; 251 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 857 mg sodium.
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