It's June in Washington, DC, which means the outdoor markets are in full swing with farmers from across the region. If you follow me on instagram (@thescribblepad) you already know that my CSA began yesterday and I am excited to have fresh produce driving our family meal planning. Here is one of my favorite brunch recipes, just in time for Father's Day or family vacation.
This recipe became a winner in my house when I realized that all the prep work was done the night before. You throw everything together, pop it in the refrigerator overnight and it is ready to bake in the morning. One less item to juggle in the morning is key with two kids underfoot. Double bonus, it is chock full of vegetables cleverly disguised in a breakfast Behr loves.
1/2 a loaf of rosemary or thyme bread diced into croutons (left over garlic bagels also do the trick!)
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
sea salt and ground pepper, to lightly season the bread and veggies
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
6 oz. button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup diced asparagus (1/2-inch pieces)
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (or maybe fresh sugar snap peas from my CSA!)
one package (~5 oz.) italian sausage
6 oz. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (reserve some to sprinkle on top in the morning)
2 cups half-and-half
Directions - the night before:
- Preheat an oven to 350°F
- Toss diced bread with melted butter, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, in a single layer.
- Toast for approximately 15 minutes, turning once at the mid-way point
- When golden brown, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- In a saute pan over medium-high heat, cook italian sausage, (either pre-slice sausage, or crumble as it cooks)
- After the sausage is cooked, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil
- Using the same pan, warm 1.5 Tbs. of the oil
- Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil
- Using the same pan, add 1.5 Tbs of oil and slightly under cook the asparagus - just a few minutes.
- Again, transfer the veggies to a paper towel-lined plate
- Combine the remaining dry ingredients: peas, sausage, most of the cheese, and diced bread in a large bowl.
- Once the veggies are done, fold those into the mixture and spread into a baking dish.
- Using the same bowl (now empty), add eggs and half and half, whisking to combine.
- Pour egg mixture over the veggie mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
* Here is when you get to wash all of the dishes, so you wake up to a clean kitchen in the morning. Perfect to allow you the time for finishing touches before your guests arrive.
The next morning:
- Approximately 90 minutes before you want to eat, preheat an oven to 350°F.
- Uncover strata and bake for 50 minutes.
- Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese, and bake for 10 more minutes, or until cheese topping is melted.
*This recipe is very forgiving, add a bit more a bit less, skip some of the veggies, add some new ones, serve immediately, or let sit for 20 minutes. It is the perfect way to host, no pressure!
If you are looking for an afternoon meal or a BBQ side dish instead,
try greek orzo salad with asparagus. Your friends will thank you.