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posted: 4/3/2012 5:42 AM

Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding

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1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

pound fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 generous teaspoon fresh sage leaves (about 4-5 large), minced

cup fresh parsley, minced

6 large eggs

3 cups whole or reduced-fat milk

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided

1 loaf (1 pound) rustic artisan bread, cut into 1-inch pieces

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Butter 12 individual ramekins or a 2- to 3-quart baking dish.

Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and over with hot water; set aside to hydrate for at least 10 minutes. Drain and chop them coarsely.

In a large saute pan, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms and saute just until they begin to give off some liquid, about 5 minutes more. Season with teaspoon salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh herbs and chopped dried mushrooms.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, Gruyere, and cup parmesan. Whisk in teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add the bread cubes and let soak for about 5-10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Fold in the mushroom mixture.

Turn the bread pudding into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, until puffed and golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 45-60 minutes depending on the size and depth of your baking dish. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves eight.

Cooks note: I use dried porcinis and fresh creminis because they pack a ton of flavor and are readily available, but use any combination of mushrooms you like. Fresh herbs are amazing, but I've also used a teaspoon of dried herbes de Provence instead and liked the results.

Adapted from Christa Resing Colardo of Marin Cooking

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