Thank you to Donna Dooher and Claire Stubbs who gave me a free, signed copy of their cookbook Out to Brunch: At Mildred Pierce Restaurant which has a fabulous way to use up some really, really stale bread and a starting to wrinkle red pepper. Tonights dinner includes a slight variation to their Roasted Pepper and Basil Strata.
Serves 6 [hopefully this thing freezes well since there are only two of us]
Before you start...
The night before, remove all the crusts from the loaf and slice bread into 3/4" cubes. Spread the cubes out onto a baking sheet and leave out to dry overnight. The drier the bread, the better our results will be. [Hopefully crust isn't too much of an issue since my bread dried out somewhere around 3 or 4 weeks ago in the fridge.]
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup onion, thinly sliced
1 loaf of their perfect breakfast brioche (page 32 in the cookbook) or crusty Italian loaf, cubed and dried (about 10 cups)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated [I had cheddar in the fridge, so I used that]
1 cup roasted red or yellow peppers, peeled, seeded, and sliced [I didn't feel like the hastle of roasting them, I just used fresh]
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
5 large eggs
1 cup milk [it called for 2%, but we're skim people so that's what I used]
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt [I used sea-salt since I'm out of kosher salt]
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss together the dry bread cubes with the onions, feta, and fontina cheeses, roasted peppers, and basil.
In a small bowl [Tim's not going to be happy about the number of dishes this meal causes!], whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and dry mustard. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes, gently tossing to combine.
Divide the bread mixture evenly into a buttered jumbo muffin tin (for 6 muffins). Cover lightly with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the plastic wrap and place the muffin tin on a baking sheet. Bake the strata for 40 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Enjoy immediately.
~::~ After the Meal ~::~
Wow! I need to have stale bread around more often. Who knew bread as hard as a rock can actually be turned into something other than just bread crumbs? These were delicious! Even Tim liked them.
The chicken breasts I baked with thyme, lemon zest, lemon slices, salt, pepper, and orange juice, were okay, but a little dry. But it used up that lemon that was leftover from the Sole I made a few weeks ago.