One day, a savory souffle gazed across the kitchen at a bread pudding and said, "let's make beautiful dinner together". I'm only sort of kidding, this is a souffle that wants to be a bread pudding (or is it a bread pudding that wants to be a souffle?). It's also very, very good, while managing to be both light and filling. A wonderful accompaniment to Roasted Beet Salad.
Caramelized Onion Bread Pudding
2 Tbsp. butter, plus more for the dish
10 slices stale potato bread (or white bread), torn into pieces
1 c. skim milk, room temperature
.5 c. half & half, room temperature
.5 c. buttermilk, room temperature
one yellow onion, sliced into thin rounds
4 large eggs, separated
8 oz. baby swiss, grated
1 tsp. sea salt
freshly grated pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
generous pinch nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 2 quart souffle or baking dish generously, set aside.
Place the bread pieces in a bowl and pour the milk, half & half, and buttermilk over it. Set aside until all liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, melt the 2 Tbsp. butter in a sautee pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and saute until a deep caramel color, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash the bread with a potato masher (or your hands), until it is a smooth mixture; stir in the caramelized onions.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks briefly. Stir in the grated cheese, salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg. Mix well, then add to the bread mixture. Stir until well combined.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (you can, of course, do this by hand, if you are into that sort of torture). Beat the whites until stiff peaks form, then gently fold into the bread mixture in 3 additions.
Transfer to the buttered dish and bake until golden and firm, 45-50 minutes. Serve warm, with salad.
A wonderful thing I've noticed about this fluffy, savory souffle, is that, because of the bread, it holds up a bit better than most souffles. A couple of hours later, when I wanted a snack, it had only fallen a bit and still filled me with happiness with every squishy yet crunchy bite. I have wrapped it up and tossed it in the fridge to see if it holds up for leftovers, and I will report back. This is a good one, guys.