If the question is: how often do I wish I were eating brunch?
My answer is ALL. THE. TIME. Pancakes at every meal? I’d be down. Frittatas as a midnight snack? Bring it.
While I occasionally feel a little guilty eating what is basically dessert for the most important meals of the day (almond-crusted stuffed French toast, I’m looking at you), it always feels good to find a brunch option that can legitimately serve as breakfast, lunch, AND dinner…which is where this strata comes in!
The term “strata” is basically the fancy Italian name for savory bread pudding. To make a strata in its most basic form, cubes of bread are soaked in an egg custard, usually topped off or mixed with some cheese and herbs, and then baked until set leaving the insides delightfully creamy while the top gets nice and crispy. They can serve as a base for pretty much any flavor profile, so I like to make them as clean-out-the-fridge dishes when I have some veggies that are getting a bit too old for their own good sitting in my crisper drawer.
This strata in particular is a celebration of all things spring! Asparagus and gorgeous rainbow chard leaves are sauteed in a touch of olive oil and some red pepper flakes until they’re just tender. Then they are tossed together with cubes of whole wheat bread, shredded gruyere cheese, and a milk-egg combo that pulls the whole thing together. I gave them a quick soak, only letting them sit together for about 15 minutes, but you can prepare everything ahead up until this point and let the whole casserole soak in the fridge overnight. Before baking, I sprinkled some halved cherry tomatoes over the top, which added some juiciness to the dish. The end result is a perfect mix of cheesiness, carb comfort, and loads of vegetable goodness. Even those of you who are breakfast/lunch/dinner purists will feel compelled to eat it for most meals of the day…and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
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