Fasten your seat belts folks! You are in for an unctuous treat today. That means butter, cream, cheese and white bread. Um, there are healthy elements too; sweet corn? and mushrooms! Just picture these ingredients together; don’t they all sing together beautifully, in chorus?
I’ve always loved baked casserole dishes. They are so wholesome and hearty, something that can take the center stage on a table and easily feed about 5-6 greedy guests. Throw in a salad on the side, something lemony and fresh, and you’ll have a complete meal.
When I was young and single, working and living alone, not much cooking used to happen. I used to live off Maggi (story of thousand other young, working boys and girls of India) and the other meals would come from outside. Plenty of time was spent on working and partying and I didn’t exactly make time for cooking.
But on this one odd day, I would be a home bird. I would feel like watching TV over something homemade. I would step out to the nearby grocery store and buy some ingredients. I’d chop up some beans, carrots, mushrooms and whatever other fancy vegetables I have. I’d make a béchamel sauce, but those days I’d call it white sauce. Didn’t much care for culinary propriety back in the day.
I’d sit the vegetables in a dish and pour the “white sauce” over, sprinkle some bread crumbs and processed cheese on top (well I couldn’t afford to buy any other cheese) and the dish would go into the oven for 30 minutes or so. And just like that, I’d have a sumptuous, home-cooked meal, something that was a rarity.
This bake is as humble and easy, but having accumulated a wealth of knowledge on cooking and baking over the years, I thought it would only be fitting to show signs of graduation. So I’ve made this dish somewhat gourmetish. No baked veggies with white sauce this time. Something better, something creamier and crunchier, with a similar goodness and humility perhaps. Nothing a home cook can’t manage.
- 1 cup (100 g) fresh corn
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 200 g button mushrooms, cleaned and halved
- 6 slices white bread
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 400 ml (2 cups) cream
- 4 eggs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Pinch of paprika
- 1 cup (200 g) cheddar, grated
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Brush a baking sheet with melted butter. Place the bread slices on the sheet. Brush the slices with melted butter. Toast the bread in oven for 20 minutes. Set aside.
- Pour the remaining melted butter in a pan. Sauté chopped onions (until translucent), followed by mushrooms and then corn. Season with salt. Don’t overcook the vegetables. Set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together eggs and cream. Add salt, pepper and paprika.
- Chop the toasted bread slices into 1 inch squares. Line a baking dish with the prepared vegetables. Pour over the custard. Place the toasted bread squares on top. Sprinkle cheddar.
- Bake the dish for 40 minutes. Serve hot.