Ideally suited for an easy-going brunch, stratas benefit from being made up to a day ahead so the egg can thoroughly soak into the bread. We’ve used sausage in the recipe below, but you can make it with ham instead: simply brown 8 ounces of chopped ham steak in a little oil in place of the sausage.
- 8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- Butter, for the pan
- 12 ounce sourdough baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the oil to the skillet; stir in the onion, garlic, thyme, and basil, and cook 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes; remove from the heat.
- Butter an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Place a single layer of the bread on the bottom; top evenly with the onion mixture and sprinkle with the sausage and cheese. Top with the remaining bread slices.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until well combined. Slowly pour the mixture over the top layer of bread. Cover with plastic wrap and place heavy objects (e.g. food cans) on top to weigh it down. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and uncover. Bake until the strata is puffed and browned and the eggs are set, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven let cool 5 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.