During the summer, friends from all over the country come and pile into our house at Lake Placid. I often make this before they arrive. The recipe calls for the bread pudding to sit in the refrigerator for an hour before it’s baked, giving the bread a chance to absorb the liquid; but it’s even better when it sits overnight. The next morning, all I have to do is bake it, and breakfast for eight is on the table.
What to serve when: This dish is so rich that I like to serve it with a mixed green salad, whether it’s for brunch or a light dinner.
- Yield: 8 to 10 servings
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 pound breakfast or Italian sausage, removed from the casing
- 4 cups spinach leaves, washed and drained (about 6 ounces or 1 large bunch)
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups 1 1/2-inch cubes day-old country Italian or French bread
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (about 6 ounces)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- Butter a 9 × 13-inch glass baking dish. Melt but don’t brown the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until it is soft and translucent. Add the sausage and cook about 4 minutes, breaking the sausage into pieces as it cooks, until it is cooked through. Stir in the spinach and sauté just until it is wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Drain off the liquid.
- Whisk the milk, eggs, mustard, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Add the bread and stir to coat. Stir in the sausage, cheeses, thyme, and rosemary and pour into the prepared baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Twenty minutes before you’re ready to bake the bread pudding, remove it from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Bake the bread pudding for 45 to 50 minutes, until it is puffy and light golden brown. Remove the bread pudding from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm.