Is it me or does the word “strata” make you think you’re going to see a Fellini movie? Or, is that only if you’re a movie buff? If you’re a science buff, maybe it makes you think of outer space as in stratosphere? Or, if you’re in the military, maybe it makes you think of strategy as in strategic maneuvers? I have wanted to try strata for a long time but it’s made with leftover or stale bread. When do I ever have leftover or stale bread? Never! So, in order to make this strata, I had to bake extra bread just so I could have “leftovers.” Since I like to kill two birds with one stone (gee that sounds violent), I decided to make brioche, a French bread that I’ve always wanted to make but didn’t because I thought it was too inconvenient. I didn’t have the right “tools” for the job. But then I found a recipe for brioche that called for a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Now that I had! I made the brioche, I had leftover bread, and then I made strata in time for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.
Strata is made with bread, eggs, milk, and cheese. You can add just about anything to it. It’s similar to a bread pudding. I found this recipe for crab strata and I halved it because I wasn’t sure I would like it.
I also have a very old recipe I cut out from a magazine for spinach cheese strata but I’ve yet to make it. If you want the recipe, just leave a comment and I will give it to you. Here is the recipe for the crabmeat strata. It can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance.
6 thick slices white bread cut into cubes
2 (6-oz.) cans crabmeat or 1 lb fresh
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 scallions rough chop
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups milk
2 tablespoons dry sherry or apply juice
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Butter a 2 qt. casserole dish. In a large bowl, mix the bread, crabmeat, cheeses, and scallions. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Pour into the casserole, cover, and chill for 2 to 24 hours.
Heat the oven to 350. remove the cover from the casserole and bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Replace crabmeat with canned red salmon, drained.
Replace crabmeat with ½ cup cooked small shrimp, 2 chopped hard-boiled eggs and 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley.
Replace 1 can crabmeat with 1 can tuna, drained.
Omit crabmeat altogether. Substitute 1 cup cooled and sliced mushrooms and ½ cup cooked, chopped leeks.
Replace crabmeat with smoked, chopped mackerel, bones removed. Add 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped.
This recipe is taken from the book, “500 breakfast & brunch dishes” by Carol Beckerman