I love stratas for holiday breakfast--you put them together the night before and heat them up in the morning. My daughter-in-law Paige used to makes a strata when we visited in Austin. (We live here now.) I adapted her recipe to reflect my love of grilled cheese with bacon and tomato. —drbabs
4-6 (can be multiplied)
butter for pan
day old bread, cut into cubes
bacon, cut into small pieces
finely chopped onion
plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped into small pieces (canned tomatoes are OK)
cup (ish) baby spinach, roughly chopped
extra sharp cheddar cheese (use your favorite), grated
Dijon mustard (mustard haters can leave this out)
fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste (depends on how salty your bacon is)
Butter an 8 inch square baking dish (or one of equivalent size).
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Drain the bacon on a plate lined with paper towels.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Saute the onions in the bacon fat until they begin to soften and become translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat, and cook the onions and bacon together, scraping up any browned bits, until they are somewhat caramelized and any liquid has evaporated. Stir in the spinach till wilted. Remove from heat.
Place half of bread in baking dish. Top with half the tomato-onion-spinach mixture and top that with half the bacon, and 1/3 of the cheese. Layer on the rest of the bread followed by tomato-onion-spinach mixture and 1/2 of the remaining cheese.
Whisk together milk, eggs and mustard in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top, and grind about 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper over the cheese. Chill strata, covered with foil at least 1 hour and up to overnight (for bread to absorb custard).
In the morning, remove strata from refrigerator and heat oven to 350. Bake uncovered 40-45 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned on top. Let rest about 5 minutes before serving.