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Roasted Tomato and Cheddar Strata (Egg Casserole)


Ohhh, August tomato sickness strikes again.  We've gone through pounds upon pounds of tomatoes in the last few weeks, and I'm still not over it.  Roasted tomatoes in everything, including this delicious strata.  We've made this a million times - for breakfast, for brinner, for Christmas brunch, and it's been delicious every time.  It's wholesome and comforting, but not heavy.  It's easy to throw together and will keep overnight to be baked in the morning, but is also perfect when baked right after making it (how I usually do it because I can't seem to plan ahead enough to do it any other way).  Since it has bread cubes, it's heartier than a quiche, and also doesn't have the annoyance of making a crust.

Some of our pickings last weekend.  This photo just brings joy to my soul.

It's also infinitely adaptable - I've added mushrooms and kale or spinach and caramelized onions and I'm dying to do a version with goat cheese.  But for now, some roasted tomatoes, hearty greens (collard, in this case) and some good cheddar were perfect.

Our favorite way to serve it, alongside our beloved raised waffles for brinner

Roasted Tomato and Cheddar Strata
adapted from here

NOTE: This recipe seems like it has a lot of steps, but they're all really simple and quick.  It usually takes me 30 minutes TOPS to put the whole thing together.

3 medium tomatoes, chopped (or equivalent cherry tomatoes, halved)
4 T olive oil, divided
1 t brown sugar
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups greens, chopped (I used collards here, but have also used kale and spinach)
6 cups bread in 1" cubes (1/2 lb)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (use the good kind, because the flavor of the cheese makes a difference here)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Spread tomatoes in a roasting pan and drizzle with 2 T of olive oil and 1 t brown sugar.  Stir to combine.  Roast in preheated oven until tomatoes have released most of their juices and are wrinkled and slightly blistered, about 20-30 minutes.

2. Saut√© onion in remaining 2 T olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking for one minute. Stir in greens and cook until they have softened slightly and turn bright green.  Remove from heat and set aside.

3. (OPTIONAL) Spread bread cubes on tray and lightly toast in toaster oven or full-sized oven.  (This step isn't necessary, but I like when the bread cubes are a little crispier since I have issues with sogginess.)

4. Preheat oven to 350F.  Spread half the bread cubes in a buttered (or just spray with cooking spray) 9x13" ceramic baking dish. Top with half of the greens/onion mixture, half of the tomatoes, and half of the cheese. Repeat layering with remaining bread, greens/onions, tomatoes and cheese.

5. Whisk eggs, milk, mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata.

6. (OPTIONAL) Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.  (I only do this if I'm making this for an early breakfast.)  If you do chill it, the next morning, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while preheating the oven.

7. Bake strata, uncovered, in preheated oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 40-45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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