Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 6 to 8
Strata, translated from Latin (not Italian), is an all-American dish that has been reinvented over the years with ingredients of the moment -- mushroom soup in the 1950’s, jars of pimento in the 60’s, pesto in the 80’s and so forth. You’ll find strata living in the repertoire of nearly every current celebrity chef. Here’s our version but, of course, like many of our recipes, it is almost infinitely variable.
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
  • 1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1-1/2 cups Gruyere or other Swiss-style cheese, shredded
  • 1 small bunch fresh Italian parsley, stemmed and minced
  • ½ pound Italian breakfast sausage, removed from the casing and fried
  • 3-4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. Combine the milk, eggs and salt and pepper. Brush a 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish with some of the olive oil. Add the remaining oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. Add in the onions and sauté until they are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and continue to sauté, an additional 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add in half of the breadcrumbs to the bottom of the baking dish. You can either arrange the bread cubes neatly or just toss them in and spread them around. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the bread, then half the onions and garlic, some parsley and all of the sausage.
  3. Add on the next layer of bread cubes. Cover the bread with the remaining cheese, onions, and parsley.
  4. Pour the milk and egg mixture over the bread cubes, slowly so the custard can distribute through the nooks and crannies. Cover the baking dish with a piece of plastic wrapping. Set a plate on top of the baking dish to encourage the custard to soak into the bread.
  5. The best approach is to leave the strata overnight in the fridge, remove in the morning, wrap in aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Remove the aluminum foil and continue to cook for about 15 minutes to puff and brown the top. If you can’t wait until morning, the dish is OK to serve after about 30 minutes of soaking time.
  6. Cut the cooked strata into squares and serve with your favorite egg-and-cheese-and-sausage condiments.
Recipe by Within The Wild at