One of my current favorite cookbooks is Chef Alon Shaya’s “Shaya.” An Israeli chef who ventured into Italian cooking, then came back to his roots, he does an amazing job of fusing the two cuisines in his Louisiana restaurants. This stuffing is a variation of his Parmesan Stuffing - a light but satisfying alternative to stuffing. I took it a little more toward the Italian side with the addition of the pine nuts and the topping. This would make a nice brunch dish with a small side salad, or a side to a grilled tagliata or steak.
Get someone to help with the dishes - this takes a lot of equipment.
8 ounces Parmesan, grated fine
1/2 nutmeg nut, grated*
2 1/2 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 stick butter
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 quart grape tomatoes
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Preheat the oven to 450 and move a rack into the top half of the oven.
Remove and discard the crust from the bread and process the loaf in a food processor so it’s crumbs. Set aside.
Whip 3 of the egg whites into stiff peaks and set aside. In your mixer, beat the rest of the eggs and yolks.
With your mixer on low, slowly mix in the broth.
To the egg and broth mixture, add half the breadcrumbs, the salt, nutmeg and Parmesan. Slowly add the rest of the breadcrumbs. *If you’re using ground nutmeg, use about a tablespoon.
Fold the egg whites gently into the bread mixture.
In a cast iron skillet, toast the pinenuts. When they’re golden brown, add the butter.
When the butter is melted and the entire pan is coated, top the pinenuts and butter with the bread mixture. Immediately move to the oven.
Cook for 25 minutes, turning the pan halfway to ensure even cooking.
While the stuffing is baking, in a non-stick pan, put the olive oil, tomatoes, oregano and garlic on medium-low heat until the garlic just starts to get slightly golden. Add the balsamic and cook down slightly.
When the baking is done, turn the oven to broil and broil the top for 2 minutes to brown. (See picture, top left). Gently invert the stuffing onto a platter (See picture, bottom left).
Cut into wedges and serve immediately. Top with tomato mixture and some fresh basil.
If you’re serving this alone with a salad, try the Weissenkirchen Gruner Veltliner Smaragd from Australia. It’s kind of intense and has a great minerality that goes well with the eggy-cheesy flavor of the stuffing. If you’re having steak with it, you might try a sparkling Rose.