Breakfast Strata

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Stratas are really versatile. And I really like to make them for so many reasons: they look great at brunches and potlucks, they need minimum fuss in the mornings, but the best part is: you can put just about anything and everything in it.

Take inventory of whatever is in the fridge, then assemble it the night before. A little meat and some cheese on a bed of almost stale bread will do. Take it further with sautéed mushrooms, spinach and onions. Whatever you have, that will do. Don't forget the milk and eggs, which really, you should always have anyway, right?


1. Take that pretty baking dish and coat with butter or baking spray.
2. Slice or cube your day old sourdough, baguette or any hearty bread.
3. Prep your meat: slice the ham or salami, shred the rotisserie chicken or
4. Make it meat free with sautéed carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, kale and onions.
5. In a bowl, in a 3:1 ratio (depending on the size of the dish) beat 9 eggs (yes, 9 for a 13x9inch pan) then add 3 cups or milk (or a combination of 1/2 milk and 1/2 cream)
6. Flavor this mixture with a pinch of nutmeg, celery salt (coz I had it), freshly ground black pepper and to amp it up, herbes de Provence.
7. Pour slowly into the pan, drenching all that bread, pressing down carefully on the bread.
8. A layer of Gruyere along generous sprinkling of cheddar will make it a bronze baked beauty that is going to wow your guests.
9. Cover with plastic wrap and set a heavy dish or pan above it to completely soak the bread. Let this rest at least 10 minutes.
10. Place the baking dish in the fridge in preparation for baking in the morning. If whatever it is you weighed it down with can get into the fridge as well, all the better.

11. Remove the strata from the fridge at least 15-20 minutes before baking as you don't want to crack your pretty cold pan in the blistering oven.
12. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the baking pan on it.
13. Place in the oven and turn it on to 350F. Why not preheat the oven? Because I want the still cold-ish pan to warm up slowly.
14. Bake for 40-50 minutes after temperature has been reached, until bubbly on the sides and the custard is set. How would you know this? The bread will be soaked, but done like a French toast, but not damp and runny.
15. Serve immediately to a table of hungry waiting kids and wait for the Wows.
Oh, and a light salad on the side makes a fresh accompaniment.


2:30? Yep! That's my brunch time ;)

You Might Also Like