Arts & Entertainment

Breakfast Strata

This versatile breakfast or brunch casserole is similar to savory bread pudding, crustless quiche, or frittata

Strata Haiku

Baked casserole sings

Flavors brings joy to the heart

Colorful blossoms

This versatile breakfast or brunch casserole is similar to savory bread pudding, crustless quiche, or frittata. The idea of a baked breakfast or brunch dish can ease the hectic moments in the kitchen. Once the strata is in the oven, you can be slicing fruit or preparing a lovely salad with a vinaigrette dressing to accompany the strata. And let’s not forget the pour-over coffee, which is especially delicious and aromatic when made with single-source beans that are freshly ground with a hand-held burr grinder.

The beauty of creating a strata enables you to utilize a variety of ingredients available in your home. For example, if chicken eggs are not available, you could use quail, duck or ostrich eggs.  A non-dairy beverage can certainly be used to replace dairy milk, or perhaps you have a goat in your back yard and have access to fresh goat’s milk. And then there’s the unlimited selections of cheese, vegetables, cured meats, and herbs and spices that offer endless combinations and flavor profiles.

Ingredients

• 16 oz. bread (any type)

• 32 oz. milk

• 8 eggs (large)

• 2 medium poblano peppers, small dice

• 8 ounces assorted cured meats, small dice (ham, bacon, prosciutto, salami, etc.)

• 8 ounces manchego cheese, grated (any cheese could be used)

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 1 Tbsp. olive oil (to sauté pepper and cured meat)

• 1 Tbsp. olive oil (to coat baking pan)

Method

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare a 9-by-13 baking pan with olive oil.

Combine the eggs, milk, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix to create a custard. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and place in bowl with the custard (cubed bread with absorb the custard mixture.) Grate cheese and add to the cubed bread and custard.

Add the oil to the sauté pan and preheat on low. Cut poblano peppers and cured meats into 1/4-inch small dice. Add to the heated sauté pan and cook until the pepper is soft. Combine with the cheese, bread and custard. Stir.

Once the bread has absorbed the custard mix, pour into the oiled baking pan. Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until the top of the strata starts to turn a beautiful caramel brown or the center rises. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

Chef Shannon Hayashi, CCE, Ed. D, is Culinary Program Director at the Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. Logan Mansell, AAS, AA, is currently pursuing a Certificate of Technical Studies in Advanced Baking and Pastry at FVCC.