My friend who lives near the bakery brought me some day-old loaves this week. Yay! The perfect excuse to make strata – an egg, cheese, bread and vegetable dish that’s as good for breakfast as it is for dinner. Think quiche, but easier.
I used a whole grain sourdough loaf as the basis for the loaf. Sourdough is my favorite for strata, but others prefer French bread. Different strokes for different folks. And feel free to play around with the proportions of vegetables. It would be excellent with two or three times as much spinach, if you have it on hand.
- butter or cooking spray
- 8 cups stale crusty bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped into small pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 8 grinds of the pepper mill (about 1/4 tsp ground white pepper)
- ⅛-¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 10 oz package frozen spinach
- ¼ cup roasted red peppers
- 8 ounces canned tomatoes with juice, or 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1 cup grated parmesan, grated
- 7 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Set bread cubes in a large bowl covered with a bread towel. Let sit overnight or longer, until cubes are fairly dry and stiff. Alternately, you can lightly toast them.
- Coat a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with butter or cooking spray.
- Saute onions and garlic on medium heat until onions start turning translucent.
Add spinach until it has thawed. Turn off heat. Mix in tomatoes, red peppers, thyme, white pepper, and nutmeg. No need to drain or cook off the liquid; the bread in the next step will absorb it.
- In a large bowl or in the slow cooker, mix the bread cubes and seasoned vegetables.
Stir in parmesan.
Transfer to slow cooker.
- In a small bowl, beat eggs and salt. Stir in milk. Pour mixture over slow cooker contents.
- Cook on low for 3-4 hours, until eggs are set and the internal temperature is at least 160°F.