Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Egg Strata?

What the heck is a Strata anyway? Funny you should ask. Strata is the plural form of stratum, which is a horizontal layer of material, especially one of several parallel layers arranged one on top of another (www.thefreedictionary.com/stratum). This recipe is for an Egg Strata, or more precisely parallel horizontal layers of English muffins, Canadian bacon, tomato and/or spinach. The layers are sprinkled with cheese, soaked in egg and baked to a golden doneness.

This may sound crazy, but I have made this twice since having it at M&J’s house for brunch last month, and it is a great make ahead, good for a group dish. The first creation was for brunch with our neighbors and the second a baby shower for my sister. Both times it was so nice to not be in the kitchen at the last minute, nor have any prep dishes to clean up when guests leave.

The original recipe (found online and provided by M&J) is based on horizontal layers of Canadian bacon and English muffins. The vegetarian version with tomatoes and spinach was a great complement and much better than just omitting the bacon! Just a heads up: some people (my dad for example) may be surprised by the consistency of the dish because the English muffins disappear upon cooking.

Thanks M&J for this great dish!

Egg Strata

I made this dish in a circular Le Crueset skillet and cast iron skillet. Both times I had more egg mixture then I could pore over, but I think this depends on the dish you use, so don’t be surprised if you have leftovers.

Servings: approx 16
Cost: $20, $17 veggie version ($1.25/person, $1.06/person veggie)
Time: 1 hour active, 5-11 hours total

8 English muffins, split, toasted and cut in half
1 pound sliced Canadian bacon, halved or 3 small tomatoes cut lengthwise, seeded and cut into half slices and ½ bunch spinach leaves, cleaned and dried
10 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 cup parmesean cheese
16 large eggs
6 cups milk
3 T Dijon mustard
½ tsp hot sauce
½ tsp each salt and pepper

Butter a shallow baking dish (oval, square or circular). In dish, alternately arrange bacon and English muffins cut side down (or for vegetarian version alternately arrange tomato, spinach and English muffin). Sprinkle with both cheeses, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, salt, pepper and hot sauce until combined. Pour mixture over arranged muffins; cover with plastic wrap or lid and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet or place foil on rack below dish in oven. Remove plastic wrap and/or lid and bake until puffed and set in center; approximately 1 ½ hours. To test for doneness poke with a paring knife in center, if firm and knife comes out clean strata is done. Tent loosely with foil if Strata becomes too brown before being done. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Anonymous said...

Emily and John served this FANTASTICALLY DELICIOUS strata to us about a month ago, and honestly, I am STILL thinking about it. It is so tasty. Emily, I already knew you were a superior chef, but this blog is terrific! I love your choice of posts so far and they are so thoughtfully- and beautifully-presented. You may need to quit your grad program and become the "Thrifty Gourmet Mom". : )

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. I've always had problems with my egg bakes (e.g. quiche and fritatta) sinking in the middle as they cool. Looks like you've avoided this. Any idea how?

Emily said...

Hi Julia - Thanks so much for your comment! I am so glad you like the site ~

Hi Anon. - Great question about the sinking baked egg dish phenomenon... My best guess as to why this recipe avoids that problem is the structure provided by the english muffins... Please let me know how it works for you.

Best - Emily

Joe Horn said...

I just did a strata with Gruyere Cheese and Spicy Italian Sausage. I posted it on my blog. Come take a look if you have a chance and let me know what you think. Love the blog! I like the idea of using the english muffins. It sounds great.