Strata is easy, delicious breakfast comfort food. Serve it with a cold green salad for a satisfying Sunday lunch or dinner. Best, it can be prepared the night before.
This recipe is adapted from Gourmet Magazine via Smitten Kitchen, two excellent sources of inspiration. Fontina is flavorful and melty: perfect for a cheesy egg dish. We harvested herbs still looking good in the garden: oregano, thyme, and lavender (for the Herbs de Provence flavor profile.) If you live in South Africa or Australia you might still have fresh zucchini in the garden. Otherwise pick up a couple of organics from the market.
Zucchini Cheese Strata – Serves 8-10
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lavender buds
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 cup fresh zucchini, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
6 ounces coarsely grated Fontina Cheese (2 cups)
2 ounces finely grated cheddar (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups half and half
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1. In a large skilled sauté onion in olive oil over a medium heat until translucent. Add the salt, pepper, and fresh and dried herbs. Continue cooking for a minute or two. Stir in the zucchini, cooking for 5-10 minutes or until it’s done. The zucchini shouldn’t retain much moisture.
2. Layer a third of the bread cubes in a well-buttered 3-quart ceramic baking dish (9 x 12 will work). Top with one-third of the vegetables and one-third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, vegetables and cheese.
3. Beat the eggs, half and half, and mustard in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Gently press to fully incorporate the egg mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 – 24 hours.
4. Before baking, let the strata come to room temperature ( about 30 minutes). Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake uncovered, in middle of oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until puffed and nicely browned Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.