A common thread runs through many of the foods I love at Marché: They're basically salad turned upside down. The latest inversion, pictured here, is the tomato-goat cheese bread pudding, which is what the server recommended when I said, "Just bring me the best thing you've got today."
I can't say whether it was in fact the best thing on our long rustic farm table, which ultimately disappeared under a food-blanket of fluffy salads with mâche, tomatoes and fresh Parmesan; cheese plates with toasted raisin bread, cooked apples and gooey Delice de Bourgogne; and steak haché made with local beef, aioli and spinach. But, sure enough, that $8 bread pudding special hit the spot.
At first glance, the leafy mane of lamb's lettuce looked like a simple salad, but beneath the green tangle lurked a complex cube of warm eggy bread with creamy veins of molten chèvre, plump chunks of tomato and crusty corners of toasted whole grain.
Tossed in a salty olive vinaigrette and piled nonchalantly over the dish, the cool greens played bright counterpoint to the baked centerpiece. Had the greens been on the bottom and the bread on top, you might have called it a bread pudding salad--as in the case of grilled salmon salad--but the greens-on-top presentation elevated the dish to something more inventive and substantial. Meanwhile, the intriguing array of contrasts--hot and cold, sweet and salty--typified so much of Marché's consistently exquisite repertoire.