Savoury Bread Pudding topped with pancetta: Summer tastes in a new jacket

Summer’s gluts of courgettes (zucchini), tomatoes, and herbs deserve a new way to cook, and we’re not talking about messy barbecues here! Instead of a smoky bombshell why not try out a light and delicious bread pudding with a spoonful of tomato, olive and onion salad on the side?

Note: although the quantities are hitty-missy, it really doesn’t matter how much you use of what, as long as you have enough egg mixture to douse the bake.

Savoury bread pudding!

Savoury Bread Pudding

You can use any veggies you want, although I’d probably draw the line at lettuce!

I used: 1 courgette, half a leek, 1 yellow pepper, 1 clove of garlic, half a mild chilli
half a jar of pesto (I used green, could use red, whatever)
A smoosh of olive oil – not too much as there’s plenty in the pesto)
About 100g cheddar (although Gruyere would make it heavenly)
One small loaf of stale proper bread (enough to fill up your baking dish)
3 eggs / 300ml milk, beaten together
Salt and pepper

1. Chop all the vegetables into biggish chunks – you want them to have character, not mush – and if you only like them soft, saute for a couple of minutes. If you like everything a bit crunchier, don’t bother.

2. Slice the bread into large croutons, about 1-2 cm thick/high/wide etc. and mix up with the veg.

3. Grate most of the cheese into the bowl of veg and bread.

4. Heave the pesto and a large glug (smoosh) of oil into the bread and veg, and salt a little. Toss together until everything seems evenly coated (it won’t be, but hey, you tried!)

5. Tip everything out into the baking dish, and beat the eggs and milk.

6. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and vegetables in the dish and allow it all to sit while you heat the oven up to 180* C / 375*F.

7. Grate the remainder of the cheese over the top, and snip some bits of pancetta or bacon all over the top (unless you’re a vegetarian, in which case, don’t).

8. Bake for about 30-40 minutes.