Move over mashed potatoes and rice. It's time to make room on the plate for some new sides.
Nick Malgieri's spinach and Roquefort bread pudding combines leafy greens with a blue-veined cheese to create a moist and tender pudding. It's delicious out of the oven and even better the next day at the bottom of a bowl of broth-based soup.
Malgieri suggests making the pudding with sausage, bacon or herbs. Always make sure, he says in "Bread" (Kyle Books, $29.95) that the vegetables are cooked so that they don't exude excess water into the pudding as raw vegetables might.
The batter for Salvadoran breakfast pancakes comes together in minutes. These gluten-free delights, from "The Food52 Cookbook" (William Morrow, $30), don't have any unusual ingredients like guar gum or xantham gum, as do many baked goods without flour.
They're sweet, slightly savory and downright delicious almost like a cheesy pound cake served with tea as a regular size muffin or as mini-muffin treats with a soup and salad dinner.
A more savory companion to soup and salad is cheesy pepperoni pizza quick bread. Jenny Flake's recipe from "The Picky Palate Cookbook" (Wiley, $24.99) comes together in minutes, but the marbled look of the pepperoni and marinara sauce make it look like a million bucks.
The final suggestion is broccoli and minas cheese soufflé. Leticia Moreinos Schwartz's recipe in "The Brazilian Kitchen" (Kyle Books, $19.95) calls for broccoli, broccolini or broccoli rabe, but it's equally delicious with a cup of mixed vegetables and a cup of edamame. These soufflés also have a fluffier texture than the traditional version made with whipped egg whites.
Broccoli and minas cheese soufflé
Serves 6 to 8
2 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons butter, more for ramekins
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg and pinch of cayenne pepper
5 whole eggs
2 cups grated minas cheese (about ½ pound)
11/3 cups chopped cooked broccoli
¼ cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat the insides of the ramekins with melted butter.
Bring the milk to a light simmer in a small saucepan.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, whisk well, and cook until it's blended, about 1 minute. Add the warm milk all at once and whisk well until it's a smooth béchamel sauce. Season with salt and pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Transfer to a bowl and let cool at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
Break all the eggs in a small bowl, season with a small pinch of salt and pepper, and lightly whisk them together.
Add the eggs to the béchamel sauce and whisk well until completely smooth. Add the Minas cheese and broccoli and fold everything together with a rubber spatula.
Pour the batter inside the prepared ramekins, about three quarters full. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top of each. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until they are puffed and lightly golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and serve immediately.
This recipe is from "The Brazilian Kitchen: 100 Classic and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook," by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz (Kyle Books, $19.95).
Spinach and roquefort bread pudding
Makes about 6 generous servings
6 cups cubed bread
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed
½ white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup heavy cream (optional)
6 ounces Roquefort or other blue-veined cheese, crumbled
3 cups whole milk or half-and-half
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
One 8- to 9-inch gratin dish or other baking pan, well buttered
Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Scatter the bread cubes on a jellyroll pan and bake for about 15 minutes to dry them.
Meanwhile, wring the water out of the thawed spinach a handful at a time.
Cook the onion in the butter over low heat in a medium sauté pan until it's soft and translucent. Stir in the spinach, season with a little salt and pepper, and cook until the spinach is no longer watery, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the heavy cream if you're feeling indulgent, and cool slightly. Add the Roquefort.
Whisk the milk with the eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Put the warm bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and fold in half the milk mixture, followed by the spinach mixture. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and pour over the rest of the milk mixture. Let the pudding rest for 10 or 15 minutes before baking.
Bake the pudding until set and the top has browned nicely, 45 to 55 minutes.
Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then serve hot from the baking pan.
Note: To use fresh spinach, rinse 1 pound of baby spinach and put it in a large pan over high heat. Once the water on the spinach starts to give off a little steam, cover the pan and steam the spinach until it's wilted and cooked through, about 5 minutes, checking several times that it isn't boiling dry.
Drain and cool, then squeeze out and chop.
Roasted asparagus and gruyère bread pudding: Trim 1 pound asparagus to 4-inch length and soak them for at least 20 minutes at a time in several changes of water to release any sand. Set a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Lift the asparagus from the water, drain them in a colander, and roll them around on a couple of paper towels to blot away excess moisture. Arrange the asparagus on a jelly-roll pan and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Roll the asparagus around on the pan to coat them evenly and bake, shaking the pan to roll them around, so that they cook evenly. They should cook through and be lightly charred in 10 to 15 minutes. Cool the asparagus and cut them into 2-inch lengths.
When assembling the bread pudding, substitute the asparagus for the spinach and 1½ (6 ounces) coarsely grated Swiss gruyère for the Roquefort.
Broccoli and cheddar bread pudding: Cut a 1½-pound head of broccoli into florets and cook them in boiling salted water until tender. Drain, cool and cut into smaller pieces if large. Substitute the cooked broccoli for the spinach and 1½ cups (6 ounces) coarsely grated sharp cheddar for the Roquefort.
This recipe is from "Nick Maligieri's Bread" (Kyle Books, $29.95).
Cheesy pepperonipizza quick bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup buttermilk
1¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided use
¼ cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup quartered pepperoni slices, about 32 slices
½ cup marinara sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9-by-5-by-2¾-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and baking soda to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix to combine. Slowly add the eggs and olive oil, mixing until just combined. Add the buttermilk 1½ cups of the mozzarella cheese, the Parmesan cheese, and the pepperoni and mix until just combined. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.
Top evenly with the marinara sauce, then pour the remaining batter over the sauce. Top with the Italian seasoning and the remaining ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean from the center. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.
This recipe is from "The Picky Palate Cookbook: 133 Recipes for Even Your Pickiest Eaters," by Jenny Flake (Wiley, $24.99).
Salvadoran breakfast pancakes
Makes 18 muffins
1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ cup grated hard cheese such as cotija or Parmesan
Sesame seeds for sprinkling
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 18 muffin cups.
Whisk together the rice flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides as needed. Beat in the sour cream, cheese, and rice flour mixture until a smooth batter forms.
Spoon into the greased muffin tins, filling each one four-fifths of the way (this batter does not rise much). Sprinkle on sesame seeds to taste.
Bake until nut brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
This recipe is from "The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2: Seasonal Recipes From Our Kitchens to Yours," by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs (William Morrow Cookbooks, $35).