Funny how I'm the breakfast/brunch cook around here, yet this is the meal I have the least imagination for. I purchased a book over the summer to help me out called The Big Book of Breakfast, by Maryana Vollstedt. It has a lot of great recipes in it, and I made this one for a brunch one morning in August.
Bacon and Cheese Strata
4 slices day old white bread, crusts removed
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
2 drops of Tobasco sauce (or to taste)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, and cut into rings
1. Arrange the bread slices, slightly overlapping, in a lightly sprayed or oiled 8x11.5" baking dish. Scatter the bacon over top.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and Tobasco. Fold in grated Cheddar and parsley. Pour the egg mixture over bread and bacon. Sprinkle with grated Monterey Jack. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350F. Bring strata to room temperature before baking. Arrange bell peppers over top. Bake, uncovered, until set - about 45 - 5o minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
- I used all Cheddar because we don't get Monterey Jack. The beauty of this recipe is you can really add whatever you want.
- This puffs up quite a bit, so make sure your pan is deep enough.
- This recipe makes multiples well. I made it for two dozen and this recipe is supposed to serve 4 - 6 people.
Here are some tips from the beginning of the strata chapter to help you along.
1. Use day old bread, or bread you've lightly toasted, or bread you've let air-dry. This is so the milk/egg mixture will soak up nicely into the bread.
2. Use whole milk, or half-and-half. Low fat milks don't provide enough structure.
3. Make the strata several hours ahead or the night before to allow the bread to absorb the custard. Press the bread down to be sure it is fully covered.
4. Bring the strata to room temperature before baking, or allow an extra 10 minutes of baking time (which is what I did).
5. If the strata becomes too brown on top, cover it with foil for the rest of the baking time.
6. Let the strata stand for 10 minutes before serving.