Easy like Sunday Morning Strata
June 16, 2009 | Comments Off
I love to come up with clever ways to get the most out of leftovers. Seeing delicious food re-invented in a completely different form excites me. This must be why I am so tantalized and endlessly fascinated by the idea of the strata (which my friend Michelle likes to call Erik A Strata).
Strata is essentially a savory extra-eggy bread pudding. Its an Italian dish that was created as a way to turn day-old bread and the tasty bits from last night’s meal, plus eggs and milk, into a delicious, steaming egg casserole. I love it because its so completely versatile and it seems impossible to mess up. You layer pretty much any good bread, with other delicious things like spinach and mushrooms or butternut squash and walnuts, and add a good dose of cheese in between each layer. You top the whole thing with eggs and milk, cook covered, and voila! A perfect portable brunch.
This strata was created the morning after I catered a wedding and I was having brunch with friends. I had some delicious proscuitto-wrapped asparagus, chive goat cheese and pumpernickel bread left over from the wedding prep so that was my starting point. This recipe is delicious but I really encourage you to go wild with creativity regarding ingredients. You can also do a Southwestern version with green chiles, sausage and Pepper Jack (one of my favorites). Or try leek, mushroom and gruyere….the sky is the limit.
Another one of the strata’s charms is the fact that it can be prepared the night before and then baked in the morning .
Don’t let those leftovers go to waste!
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Strata
8 slices of pumpernickel bread, ideally toasted or stale, with the crusts cut off
1 bunch of asparagus
10 slices of proscuitto
2 cups milk
8 oz of goat cheese with chives
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/8 cups diced chives to finish
salt and pepper
Butter to grease pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly steam asaparagus until tender and blanch to stop the cooking. Cut into 1″ pieces.
Butter a square casserole dish (around 10 x 10). Whip eggs and milk together and add a tsp salt and a pinch of pepper.
Put one layer of the bread on the bottom and cover with half the asparagus, half the goat cheese and half the parmesan cheese. Repeat with another layer of bread and fillings. Top this with cherry tomatoes, diced chives, and the parmesan.
Tightly cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.