Asparagus Bread Pudding. Are you rolling your eyes and saying, “asparagus again, Greg?”
Well don’t. You look much cuter with your eyeballs sitting prettily in your face where they belong. Besides, it’s spring. My fancy turns to those fleeting spring veggies we all love. Big, fat, jumbo asparagus are (perhaps) my favorite of all the springtime vegetables.
Of course, you can get hum-drum (ho-hum) asparagus all year round in most places. It’s fine. I buy it. But it’s not the same. That’s because eating locally and honoring annual cycles really does make a difference with many kinds of fruit and vegetables. Artichokes, Rhubarb, Strawberries– all have a clear season that are worth waiting for. Asparagus flown in year-round from wherever it’s growing is perfectly fine. However to fully appreciate all the best qualities of asparagus it has to be eaten very quickly after picking– the sweet juice starts to dry up as soon as the spears are cut. The the longer they sit around, the drier and woodier they become. That’s why locally grown spring asparagus has no equal.
So yes. I’m doing asparagus again. This time “Ottolenghi Style”. It’s an asparagus bread pudding, or more correctly a bread and butter pudding, because it’s the chive buttered bread that drives a lot of the taste and texture of this terrific recipe. I’d never considered making a savory asparagus bread pudding before. Although there are some rather lowbrow breakfast casseroles I’ve enjoyed that could probably be considered bread pudding when served on some highbrow breakfast tables. So when I saw Yotam Ottolenghi’s version of Asparagus Bread Pudding I barely skipped a beat before I started breaking some eggs.
I used big, fat, jumbo (springtime) asparagus, but I’ll be honest this recipe for Asparagus Bread Pudding is so good you can make it all year round using hum-drum (ho-hum) asparagus. Let’s not kid ourselves hum-drum (ho-hum) asparagus is still a pretty special treat. GREG