Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 21, 2021
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Savory bread pudding with roasted cherry tomatoes and corn

A bread pudding is a great destination for summer veggies. If you don’t have fresh sweet corn, you could use frozen because the roasted cherry tomatoes are the star here (also good with spaghetti). The Southwestern inspiration here is lime zest, which works with the cilantro to impart a refreshing flavour to the custard. This pudding is best baked not too long after it’s assembled, but you can keep it in the fridge for up to 2 hours before baking.

2 tbsp. (30 g) unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
½ loaf of challah, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
3 tbsp. (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. (500 g) ripe thick-walled cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp. (5 ml) minced garlic
1 small red onion, cut crosswise into thin slices
8 large eggs
2 c. (500 ml) whole milk
1 c. (250 ml) heavy cream
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) finely grated lime zest
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) ground cumin
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) ground coriander
1 c. (250 ml) fresh sweet corn, blanched or frozen corn, thawed (and drained, if necessary)
2 tbsp. (30 ml) chopped fresh cilantro
½ c. (125 ml) coarsely grated Monterey Jack
1 c. (250 ml) coarsely grated aged cheddar

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Position a rack in the centre of the oven. Rub a 13-by-9-inch (33-by-23-cm) baking dish all over with a little butter.

Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the bread cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a large bowl.

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Brush the parchment with olive oil. Toss the cherry tomato halves gently with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil and ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt and spread, cut-side up, on the baking sheet.

Roast the tomatoes until they are browned around the edges and on the bottom, 25 minutes for small tomatoes, 32 to 35 minutes for large ones. Let them cool somewhat then gently peel them off of the paper and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Scrape and drizzle the mixture over the bread cubes and toss well. Sprinkle the cubes with a little salt and toss again.

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until limp and browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, lime zest, cumin, coriander, and ¾ teaspoon (3.75 ml) salt until well combined.

Arrange half of the bread cubes in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Top with half of the cherry tomatoes, onions, corn, cilantro, Monterey Jack and cheddar. Repeat with the remaining bread, veggies and cheese, being sure to scrape any crumbs or seasoning out of the bread bowl and into the pan. Pour the egg mixture evenly over everything. Using your hands, gently press down on the bread and veggies to force the custard to surround everything. Let sit for about 20 minutes and gently press down again.

Bake until the bread pudding has risen and is set and dry in the middle (it should be golden all over), about 40 to 45 minutes. Let settle for a few minutes and serve warm. Serves 6.

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