2 cups (3/4-inch) pieces of torn Italian Batard Bread
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces wild mushrooms (any mix of chanterelles, oysters, shitake, hen of woods, wood ear mushrooms or white mushrooms), cleaned of debris, dense or large mushrooms cut into 1 inch pieces or halves
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for butter dish
2 small shallots, peeled and finely diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
wood ear mushrooms
Preheat oven to broil. Butter an 8 x 8 inch baking dish.
Spread bread on a small baking sheet and toast under the broiler until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Lower oven to 350°F.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add mushrooms, making sure they are not too crowded. Start by adding the most dense mushrooms to the skillet first and add the more delicate mushrooms last
Season with a little salt as they cook. Sauté until soft and tender, about 4 minutes. Stir the butter into mushrooms. Once melted, add the shallots and continue stirring for 1 to 2 minutes more. Taste and season with more salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, whisk together heavy cream, eggs, salt, and ground pepper. Add the toasted bread, the mushrooms mixture, the parsley and chives. Stir to combine. Use a slotted spoon or your hands to transfer the bread cubes and mushrooms to the buttered baking dish. Pour the cream mixture over them. Create a water bath by placing the baking dish in a larger roasting pan or on a small baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and fill the larger roasting pan or sheet pan with one inch of water to create a water bath around the bread pudding. This process of creating a bain marie (water bath) for the bread pudding will prevent the egg from in the custard from curdling.
Bake bread pudding uncovered until set and the top is golden, about 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.