Hmmm, it would seem that I have failed to make good on some promises around here. Every once in a while I like to read through the archives to see what I was eating and thinking and writing. And I found quite a few references and photos to recipes that I promised to post soon and never did. I'm going to work on follow through from now on.
It's really a shame, criminal almost, that I haven't posted this hot dish sooner, otherwise you could have had it for breakfast this morning. This is an old brunch standby and a crowd pleaser every time, whether the crowd is me or an actual crowd. It couldn't be easier to put together and, like so many things I cook, allows for a lot of creativity. It's a good way to use up odds and ends that may be languishing in the fridge. All sorts of herbs and veggies can be added to this savory eggy cheesy bread bake.
Now, the batch in the photo was extra special. I used about half a loaf of that famous No Knead bread that I had whipped up the day before. I left it out over night to let it get a wee bit stale, then tore it up. The contrast of the tender, airy crumb and the crisp, chewy crust were just heavenly when baked into this dish. Any old bread will do but I always try to use good, crusty artisan style bread just because I'm a snob.
Cooking time can really vary on this one. If it seems too wobbly and runny, stick it back in until it is set. Removing the foil at the end makes for a browned and bubbly crust.
Savory Egg and Cheese Bake adated from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers by The Moosewood Collective
3 tablespoon butter
12 ounces crusty bread (or enough to fill the baking dish you're using)
1 cup grated cheese (something melty, I like cheddar, and 1 cup? Yeah right, more like 2)
1 cup chopped scallions (or onions, or shallots, or herbs, or...)
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard (this really makes it-please don't skip this, and please do use Dijon)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in 2 quart baking dish, swirl to coat, and set aside. Cut or tear bread into one inch cubes and place in baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and scallions.
Beat eggs in a bowl, then whisk in milk, salt, pepper, and mustard (you can blend this if you're picky). Pour custard over the bread and use a spatula to push bread down into custard. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 25 to 30 minutes (baking time depends on size and shape of the dish you're using). Remove foil and bake until golden, about 5 minutes more.