Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Favorite Strata

Not that long ago, I made an amazing strata as a way to use up some goat cheese.  Normally the reason to make a strata is to use up old bread, but that time I actually bought some bread for that purpose.
Last week I was getting a sandwich at Take It Away (the best sandwich shop in Charlottesville), and I decided to take advantage of their cheap bags of bread ends.  It's an amazing deal - for 50 cents you get almost a pound of freshly baked bread.  And it's not just the crusty ends, you get a decent amount of the loaf.  The best part is that there are 3-4 different kinds of bread in one bag.
Of course, when I bought the bread, my first thought was to make a strata.  I used the recipe from last time as a base, but switched it up a bit.  I used zucchini, red onion and artichokes instead of the tomatoes.  And I actually used this as a way to get rid of some cheese.  I always will have a small amount left of a cheese and then will buy a replacement, and will use that instead of the old one.  I think that I should have used more liquid - there was a lot of bread and veggies.

Recipe: Zucchini, Onion and Artichoke Frittata (adapted from Baking and Books)
~10 oz day old bread, cubed - if you have a good sandwich shop nearby that uses homemade bread, see if they sell their bread ends.  They might even give them away!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 large zucchini, cut in thick slices and then cut in thirds
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
6 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup half and half
1-1 1/2 cups grated/shredded cheese (I used a combination of Gruyere and Pecorino Romano - anything would work)

Preheat oven to 450 F.
Whisk together the eggs, milk and half and half.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add the onions and cook until partly translucent.  Add the zucchini, and cook until they are both tender.  Then add the artichoke hearts and cook until heated through.  Make sure you don't cook too long - you don't want them to dry out.
Add the bread cubes and toss to mix well.
Put half the bread and veggies in an 8x8 pyrex dish, then put half the cheese, and put the rest of the bread and veggies on top.  Push down to make sure it all fits.  Pour the milk and egg mixture on top.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
Cook until it is set - no longer jiggly.  Let it rest for 5 minutes, and then enjoy!

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