This recipe is ideal for a spring brunch or when you need a hearty breakfast to feed the family. Strata is a breakfast casserole, but one that resembles more of a savory bread pudding than an egg bake. It’s full of seasonal vegetables and provides a filling, warm meal to start the day.
Feel free to swap out your favorite bread for the sourdough in your strata. Fresh basil or cilantro create another flavorful option if you don’t prefer dill.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- 1 pound loaf sourdough, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 5 sprigs asparagus, chopped
- 1 medium red potato, thinly sliced
- 1⁄3 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups 2-percent or whole milk
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet in case there is any bubbling over while baking.
Layer half of the bread cubes in the baking dish. Arrange half of the asparagus, potato, carrots, broccoli and shallots on top of the bread.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, dill, salt and pepper. Pour half of the liquid evenly over the bread and vegetables. Sprinkle with half of the cheese.
Layer the remaining bread and vegetables into the dish. Pour in the rest of the liquid, and top with the remaining cheese.
Bake your strata for 40 minutes, until the top is browned and the center is firm. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve warm.
A Bit of Breakfast History
In All About Eggs, by Rachel Khong and the editors of Lucky Peach, contributor Sascha Bos noted that ancient Romans ate breakfast and included eggs, if available. When they were pushed out of Europe, breakfast left with them.
“Throughout the Middle Ages, Europeans ate two large meals (in contrast to the Roman three),” she writes. “Physicians and religious leaders of the time suggested that it would be gluttonous to eat before dinner, and so breakfast was a meal reserved for children, the elderly and manual laborers.”
It wasn’t until 1620 that an English medical writer, Tobias Venner, actually suggests eating eggs for breakfast: poached, with salt, pepper and vinegar, and served with bread and butter.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2023 issue of Chickens magazine.