Posted by: njbrown | March 10, 2010

Caramelization – Salmon Rye Bread Pudding

March 10, 2010

This evening I watched Michael Smith do a brunch menu, but his theme was caramelization.  I had heard the term “browning” from early childhood, but caramelization only entered my culinary vocabulary a few years ago.  Michael demystified caramelization, saying that heat changes simple sugar molecules to more complex ones, and in food without sugar, it is a change in amino structure.  He pointed out that anything browned (and he even used the term “browned”) tastes better than non-browned.  We always knew that intuitively, but the penny dropped when he said it.

The centerpiece of his brunch menu was a smoked salmon rye bread pudding with red onions, lots of fresh dill, eggs, milk, Havarti cheese and capers.  My husband has always been amazed that I can taste a recipe when I read it.  I think everyone can do that, and I think we can taste a recipe that we see being made.  Perhaps it is only my husband who can’t.  An ordinary strata has little appeal to me, but the change to rye bread, using smoked salmon and Havarti sounds wonderful.  When we were newlyweds and learning the joys of gourmet foods, we joined a cheese of the month club.  Havarti was one of the cheeses we received, and we happily ate Havarti for years until we learned its fat content.  On rare occasions, I enjoy Havarti with caraway seeds.

Here is Michael’s recipe – Salmon Rye Bread Pudding:

Smoked Salmon Rye Bread Pudding
  • 1 loaf rye bread, sliced thickly, about 400 grams
  • 12 ounces smoked salmon, sliced thinly
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Sprinkled sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, lightly chopped
  • 1 cup grated Havarti cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Toast the bread slices until they are golden brown. Cut the toast into cubes and place in a large bowl with the smoked salmon, onion and capers.
  2. Pour milk into another large bowl and whisk in the eggs, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in the dill and cheese. Pour over the toasted bread cubes and toss well to combine ingredients. Rest for five minutes or so allowing the bread to absorb the liquid. Pour into a lightly oiled 8” by 8” baking dish and bake in the oven until puffy and golden brown, about 45 minutes.

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