Thursday, July 18, 2013

Scallion, Bacon & Cheese Strata

I’m continuing to explore different breakfast ideas, so here’s another one!   A strata is basically a savory bread pudding-like casserole, usually consisting of 3 basic ingredients: eggs, bread and cheese. 

1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch strips (or crumbled)
tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch scallions or 3-4 green onions, sliced thin (1 1/2 cups)
8 cups crusty French or Italian bread, cut into cubes
8 ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (2 1/2 cups)
6 large eggs
3 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt

Cook cut bacon pieces in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a small bowl and pour off fat.  (Cook’s Note:  I used the microwave to cook my bacon, then crumbled it up, along with some store-bought bacon bits to supplement.)
Add butter to skillet and in it cook scallions or green onions, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. (Note:  I also added about a teaspoon of chopped garlic.) 

Spread out half of bread in a buttered 13- by 9-inch baking dish.  (Cook’s Note:  I used individual ramekins.)

Put Cubed Bread In First
Sprinkle with half of the cheese and half of bacon. (Cook's Note:  I only had Colby-Jack SLICED cheese on hand, rather than shredded cheese, so I simply torn the cheese in portions to fit roughly inside the ramekins.) 

Next: Add a Layer of Crumbled Bacon

Then, Add A Layer of Cheese

Repeat layering again.
After 2nd Layer of Bread, Bacon & Cheese
Whisk eggs in a bowl, then whisk in milk, Worcestershire, and salt. Add the sautéed scallions or onions and stir into the mix.  (I also added a little Italian seasoning...)

Pour evenly over bread and cheese and chill, tightly covered, overnight.

All Assembled!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and let strata stand at room temperature 30 minutes (after removing from the refrigerator, if assembled the night before).

Cook’s Note: I did not make this the night before.  I assembled it the same day, and then let it stand about 40 minutes at room temperature to allow the bread to soak up the milk and eggs, and it came out just fine!  Allowing it to chill overnight in the fridge would probably make it even MORE flavorful though.  J

Placed Foil On Cookie Sheet In Case Egg Mix Spilled While Baking

Bake, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, about 50 minutes.  (Cook’s Note:  Because I used individual ramekins to cook mine, the cooking time was about 33 minutes, as opposed to 50 minutes.  I baked this until the eggs were set and a toothpick inserted came out clean. )
Hot & Puffy Right Out of the Oven

Puffed When Hot, But Will Deflate Some As It Cools Off

You may see the strata “deflate” during the cool-down process.  This is typical with baked egg dishes.  J

Starting to Cool & Deflate

Closer Up,  As It Starts to Deflate

A Nice Forkful of Flavor for Breakfast!  Yum!

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