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I suspect I¿m not alone in my breakfast rut: we have a decent rotation of morning dishes ¿ killer oatmeal (made with persimmon goop this time of year), homemade granola over Greek yogurt and fresh fruit, poached eggs, fluffy herby eggs, baked eggs, orange yogurt pancakes, Dutch babies, and a few more ¿ but I often find myself pining for something new.
So I was cruising around the web, hoping to find something good to make on Christmas morning, and happened upon something I had never heard of called ¿strata¿: a casserole dish layered with aromatics and bread. The idea is to alternate layers of bread and veggies and to pour an eggy custard over them, refrigerate overnight, and bake in the morning. I don¿t normally do much overnighting of anything, but I figured what the hell, I wanted out of my rut. You do have to have a modicum of energy at night to assemble it, but it only takes 10 minutes or so to prepare, and you¿ll be glad you did in the morning: you just have to turn on the oven, take it out of the fridge, and plop it in the oven. It¿s especially great as a stress-free way to serve a hearty breakfast to guests, along with a bowl of fresh seasonal fruit (it¿s fantastic with fuyu persimmons).
I naturally wanted to up the overall savoriness of the dish, so I added my umami standbys of pulverized dried tomato, shiitake dust, and parmesan. All the recipes I¿ve seen use milk, but I think it¿s better with yogurt. I think it tastes better in a claypot, too. Here¿s how I did it:
1) Place half the bread into a large claypot or other earthen vessel, or casserole dish that¿s been lightly buttered. Sprinkle in half the parmesan, half the shallots, and half the mushrooms. Follow with the rest of the bread, parm, shallots, and mushrooms (this creates the ¿strata¿).
2) Whisk together eggs, yogurt, salt, and pepper, and pour this over the strata. Top it with the shiitake powder. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator overnight.
3) In the morning, preheat oven to 325. Bake for 30 minutes, then crank up the heat to 425 for another 10 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and crusty. Serve in the claypot, at the table, with some fruit.
Has anyone ever made a strata before? Does anyone have any can¿t-live-without breakfasts you¿d like to share?