Moreton Neal says this foolproof dish can be made the night before, allowing you to skip prep time the morning you’d like to enjoy it.
1 lb. crusty bread, preferably ciabatta
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 large garlic clove, minced
6 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. assorted mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion (about 2 cups), chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper
4 cups whipping cream (or half-and-half)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, grated (or substitute with a good Parmesan)
Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Mix the oil, thyme and garlic. On a large rimmed baking sheet, spread the cubes and pour the oil mixture over them, tossing until well mixed. Bake at 375 F until slightly crunchy, about 20 minutes. Cool.
Melt butter in a frying pan. Add mushrooms and onion, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute until soft. Cool.
Whisk together cream, eggs, salt and pepper.
Mix together the bread cubes, mushroom mixture and half the cheese in a buttered 9-by-13 baking pan. Pour in the cream mixture. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 18 hours.
Bake at 350 F for about an hour, then let stand about 15 minutes before serving.