Savoury fennel and bacon bread and butter pudding
- 5ml (1 tsp) butter
- 5ml (1 tsp) crushed garlic
- 125g streaky bacon, chopped
- 80g red onion, diced
- 180g fennel bulb, with +-10cm of the stem attached, thinly sliced
- 5ml (1 tsp) fresh thyme leaves
- 10ml (2 tsp) fresh chives, finely chopped
- 190g ciabatta
- 115g (½ cup) butter, at room temperature
- 6 eggs
- 250ml (1 cup) fresh cream
- 375ml (1½ cups) milk
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 170ml ( cup) Gruyère, finely grated
- microherbs or fresh basil, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the butter, garlic, bacon and onion, and fry until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the fennel together with the thyme and turn the heat up slightly in order for the fennel to caramelise and turn golden.
Fry until the fennel is tender, 10 – 15 minutes. Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the chives.
Cut the ciabatta into thick slices (about 2cm thick). Butter each slice and cut the bread into bite-size chunks. Add the bread to the fennel mixture and turn it all out into a 25 x 30cm ovenproof dish.
Whisk the eggs, cream and milk together, and season. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and fennel mixture, and place in the oven.
Cook for 20 minutes and sprinkle the cheese on top. Place back in the oven until the cheese has melted and the eggs have set.
Scatter microherbs or basil on top and serve immediately.
For a vegetarian alternative, leave out the bacon and replace with fried mushrooms or roasted butternut.