Cheesy, pillowy, and deeply satisfying, this vegetarian breakfast strata, layered with sauteed shallots, chard, and aged cheddar or Gruyere, can be prepped and assembled the day before and popped into the oven the next morning. Baked in a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan, this recipe yields 8 generous main course servings or 12 smaller portions. Perfect for holiday entertaining or serving a crowd!
1large bunch Swiss chardstems stripped and thinly sliced, and leaves cut into small pieces
4tablespoons (2 oz)unsalted butterplus more for greasing
2large shallots (about 6 oz)finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
3½cups (28 oz)whole milk
2tablespoons (30 g)Dijon mustard
½teaspoonfreshly grated nutmeg
½teaspoonDiamond Crystal kosher salt
12ouncesday old good-quality breadroughly 1 baguette, cut into 1-inch pieces
8ouncessharp aged cheddar or Gruyere cheesefreshly grated (about 2 cups)
Butter a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan. Set aside.
Prepare the Day Before: Heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until melted and lightly bubbling. Add the shallots and pinch of salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chard stems and cook, stirring frequently, for an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chopped chard greens and another pinch of salt, and sauté, flipping the greens with tongs, until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cool to room temperature before using.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, whole milk, Dijon mustard, nutmeg, and kosher salt. Distribute half of the bread cubes in the buttered dish, top with half of the cooked green mixture, and sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese. Repeat with the remaining bread, greens, and cheese to create two layers. Pour the egg custard evenly over the top. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate overnight (or a minimum of 1 hour, if baking the day).
Bake the Strata: Remove the strata from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature as the oven preheats or at least 30 minutes. It will have thickened considerably overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) with a rack in the center position. Bake uncovered for 55 to 65 minutes or until puffed, golden, and cooked through. Allow the strata to cool on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Leftovers can be covered and refrigerated for 3 to 4 days. Serve cold, at room temperature, or reheat in short intervals in the microwave or in a 325°F (162°C) oven.
4:00 PM – 10:00 PM (Day Before): Prep and assemble the strata, cover tightly with foil, and refrigerate overnight.
7:30 AM (Day of Serving): Take the strata out of the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes as the oven preheats.
8:00 AM: Bake uncovered for 55 to 65 minutes, or until puffy, golden, and cooked through. Cool on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes.
9:15 AM: Slice and serve!
Tips for Success:
Feel free to use other greens and cheeses! You can also add other ingreidents, such as cooked sausage, pancetta, peppers, mushrooms, etc.
If you're bread is not a day old, toast the cubes in a 200°F oven lightly.
Inspired and adapted from Smitten Kitchen (originally adapted from Gourmet Magazine, 2003).