Call it a strata. Call it a savory bread pudding. Or just call it just possibly the most brilliant make-ahead brunch item ever. In case you’ve never heard of a strata, or the thought of a savory bread pudding blows your mind, this dish is, at it’s heart, a bunch of toasted and/or stale bread that is soaked in an eggy custard, usually with some additional ingredients. (For those sticklers out there, strata and savory bread pudding are very slightly different: strata tends to have a higher egg-to-milk ratio than bread pudding. Notice I emphasize “savory” on the bread pudding because they can be either sweet or savory but stratas are always savory.)
What makes it brilliant is that once you assemble it, you can put it in the fridge overnight! The next morning, pull it out of the fridge to come to room temperature while you brew some coffee and wake up. Then just slide that puppy into the oven and by the time everyone else wakes up it’s ready: golden brown and crunchy on top, and soft, pillowy, and scrumptious when you dig down inside.
Those additional ingredients I mentioned above are what give the savory bread pudding/strata its personality. They will also enable to you to clear out your fridge of leftover ingredients that you aren’t quite sure what to do with.
The recipe I’ve prepared here is hearty and rich, filled with nuggets of smoked sausage, sweet roasted red bell pepper, nutty creamy fontina cheese, and earthy thyme. But you can use this as your springboard, much like the frittata I recently wrote about.
Some other great combinations:
- sautéed greens such as spinach or chard, caramelized onions, and gruyere cheese
- cherry tomato, sautéed spinach, and feta
- smoked ham, asparagus, and cheddar
- thinly sliced and seared zucchini, crumbled bacon, and goat cheese
- sautéed wild mushrooms, fresh herbs, and fontina
Savory Sausage, Roasted Pepper, and Thyme Bread Pudding