Today I have an easy brunch recipe. If you need to bring a dish to a potluck or other event, this is an easy, inexpensive dish. My brother graduated with his Master’s degree last week and his program put on a program pot luck brunch and he asked me to help cook something for him to bring. I’ve never made strata before but my aunt and her friend, Andrea, both recommended a strata dish. I googled a few different strata recipes, many of which included meat, but I wanted to make this vegetarian, so I adapted a recipe and made this Tomato Basil Strata.
The only caveat of this dish, is that it takes some premeditation. It requires soaking bread in eggs for 8 hours or overnight, before you can bake it.
One nice thing about this dish is that is that you can make it ahead of time, and preheat it when you’re ready to serve.
My aunt described this dish as a mixture between French Toast and a Quiche. The base of the dish is a layer of stale bread, which is soaked in an egg and milk mixture. Soaking the bread allows it to absorb the milk, and thicken considerably.
After soaking the bread, you can top it off with basil, and bake it for approximately an hour.
I then topped them off with some fresh basil after baking.
If you want to make this ahead of time, you can soak the bread two nights before, then one night before bake the dish with the basil. Then after baking, let it cool, and refrigerate. When ready to serve, remove from the oven and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, reheat preheat the oven at 350 degrees and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6-8 slices day old sliced bread, sliced into quarters
- 8 eggs
- 2½ cups whole milk
- 5-6 vine ripened tomatoes
- 1¼ cups shredded Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano cheese, divided (or choose one cheese)
- 1 bunch basil, roughly torn in half, divided
- Cook the onion in the butter over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. While cooking, add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from stove and let cool.
- Spread the pieces of bread on the bottom of a 8x10x3 inch baking dish, in one layer.
- In a very large bowl, mix together the milk, eggs, onions, tomatoes and 1 cup of cheese. Pour the mixture over the bread slices then cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours or over night.
- When ready to serve, remove the strata from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Evenly sprinkle the all of the basil, minus 2 tablespoons, and the remaining ¼ cup of cheese over the strata. Bake the strata, uncovered, on the middle rack, until the egg is puffed and golden brown, approximately 60-65 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Top with the 2 tablespoons of basil to finish.
Adapted from Epicurious' Spinach and Cheese Strata.