Breakfast for dinner. My husband likes to tell me stories about how in his fraternity house, they would have the cook prepare breakfast for lunch every Wednesday. From my perspective, this is about the only of his college traditions that is worth keeping alive.
While we often whip up pancakes or omlettes for a quick meal, occasionally we want something a little different. If you have never had strata before, you are missing out. A good strata is like the best parts of an omlet and bread pudding, mixed together into one savory dish. You can put just about anything in it (we used ham, swiss cheese, and green onions in this incarnation), it uses bread that probably wouldn’t get eaten otherwise, and best of all, it has to be made in advance. This makes it a very versatile dish that works equally well for brunch, lunch, or dinner.
Ham and Swiss Strata
4-5 cups bread (preferably bread that is slightly stale), cubed into bite size pieces
5 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
4 oz swiss cheese, shredded
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 smoked ham steak, cooked and diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbls fresh parsley, chopped
Grease an 8″x8″ glass baking dish. Spread about 1/2 of the bread into the dish. Sprinkle the bread with the diced ham steak, the scallions and 3/4 of the shredded cheese. Add the other half of the bread cubes.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Add in the milk, chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or over night. Once or twice while the strata is chilling, gently push down on the bread cubes to make sure they of them soak up the egg mixture.
When you are ready to bake, place the strata in a preheated 325 degree oven. Cook until the eggs are just set and the top is golden brown and slightly puffed, about 60-65 minutes. Sprinkle with additional fresh chopped parsley if desired.
Serve this either warm or room temperature. Serves 4-6.