posted by Sue Freeman 03-04-100 8:47 PM
Ham Fontina and Spinach Bread Pudding
by Judy Kraus
1 large baguette (about 3/4 lb.)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 onions chopped finely
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. cooked ham, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 large eggs (can use egg substitute)
1 qt. whole milk (can use a lower fat milk also)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
6 cups fresh spinach, cleaned and dry
1/4 Fontaina cheese, grated (can use Swiss or Parmesean, if you choose)
Preheat broiler. Diagonally cut baguette crosswise into 3/4 inch thick slices and brush both sides with butter. Toast on baking sheet under broiler, 3 inches from heat, until golden brown on both sides.
Preheat oven to 350.
Saute onions in oil until tender and translucent. Add ham and saute stirring occasionally, until ham is lightly browned.
Whisk eggs in bowl until light and frothy. This makes for a lighter dish. Whisk in milk, salt, nutmeg and pepper to taste. Add toasted bread and toss gently. Remove pieces of bread to a shallow 3 quart casserole, slightly overlapping slices. Add any remaining egg mixture.
Reserving some of the ham for garnishing the top, tuck spinach and ham mixture in between slices. Slices will slightly be standing up on sides with spinach sticking out. Use all the spinach. Sprinkle remaining ham over the top.
Sprinkle with cheese over the top of everything. Using a spatula, gently lift slices of bread to allow some of the cheese to fall in between the slices also.
Bake immediately for 45 minutes to an hour. Edges will be a golden brown and it will be set in the middle. It will also puff up some during the baking.
If you have made this the night before you will need to increase the baking time to 1 hour and 10 minutes if it is cold and right out of the fridge. You will also need to cover with foil after 45 minutes to keep from browning too much.
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