I made this for the first time yesterday, and it was a huge hit at a backyard party. This savory bread pudding is fragrant with herbs and sautéed leeks, and absolutely filled with freshly-cut sweet corn. Frozen corn will work in a pinch, but fresh corn cut from the cob is worlds better.
I found this recipe in the cookbook Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, when I was searching for an unusual recipe utilizing fresh sweet corn. This dish was so incredibly delicious and easy that I imagine I’ll make it all the time now. It calls for a bunch of sliced scallions, but I happened to have a leek in the fridge and used that instead. I imagine I would use leeks in the future as well because of their lovely, delicate taste.
The original recipe is not specific about the type of bread, but I recommend sourdough for the added flavor. Serve this savory bread pudding with a lemony green salad, or alternatively at a brunch paired with fruit. Leftovers are lovely for breakfast.
SAVORY BREAD PUDDING WITH FRESH CORN
1 tablespoon butter
1 bunch scallions, including half of the greens (or 1 large leek)
4 cups fresh corn kernels (or frozen in a pinch)
1/2 teaspoon paprika or ground red chile
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped basil
2 cups milk
5 cups cubed bread, lightly dried out (I recommend sourdough)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1/2 cup half-and-half or milk
Butter a 3-quart gratin dish or casserole pan.
Slice the scallions or leek. Shave the corn from the cobs. Chop the parsley and basil. Cube the bread. If it isn’t dry, then lightly dry it by heating it in a 200F oven on a cookie sheet for 10-20 minutes.
Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallions or leek, the corn, and paprika or chile. Cook until the scallions have softened and the corn is heated through, about 4 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir in the parsley and basil.
Whisk the eggs and milk with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pour it over the bread cubes in a bowl. Add the corn mixture and grated cheese and transfer the mixture to the prepared dish. Pour over the half-and-half. Bake until puffed and browned, about 45 minutes.