This strata, along with the Tomato and Basil version I posted yesterday, is a great option for breakfast or brunch for a crowd. I made them for a number of years for the Fourth of July Parade which passes by the front of our house on its route.
Not sure what’s happened, but the parade has gotten so small that it comes and goes before you get a chance to fill up a plate. This isn’t what we had become accustomed to when we for many years spent the Fourth of July near Boston where the holiday brought hoopla close to Christmas stature but in summer style. There was a full agenda for the day with each gathering having something else to offer. I think the fanfare was as much to celebrate our nation’s independence as it was to embrace the true start of summer.
Now we find ourselves in Marin for the holiday and there are some pluses, like recognizing that we have fine weather most of the year so it’s OK that the summer season is on a lower pedestal. And the patriotic feel you get when placing an order with the genial folks at the American Legion’s Gin Fizz Booth at the parade in Larkspur, a much more substantial affair than the one in our neighborhood and where we now poach a position on the sidelines.
This casserole recipe surfaces regardless. And it will reheat well so if you have a smaller group, you can continue to enjoy it for a day or two.
Happy Fourth of July!
Shred zucchini and cheese separately in a food processor and dice onions.
Slice bread to layer on the bottom of a greased 9×13 casserole dish.
Begin layering, starting with bread, then zucchini, sausage, onion and cheese followed by more bread slices.
Pour egg mixture over the layers.
Top with parmesan cheese and bake.
I did a test with one side of the dish having a second layer of bread (left), as the recipe dictates, and the other on the right without. Both versions were good but we preferred the one with the two layers because of the flavorful crunch you get from the parmesan cheese.
Prep: 30 minutes | Setting: Overnight | Baking: 1 hour | Serves: 8
- 12 large slices of italian, french or ciabatta bread, or enough to cover two layers of 9×13 pan
- 3 cups grated zucchini
- 4 sweet Italian sausages (or another favorite uncooked variety), browned, crumbled and well drained to remove excess fat
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar or Gruyère cheese (Trader Joe’s has a combo)
- 6 eggs
- 3 egg whites
- 4 1/2 cups evaporated skimmed milk (or 3 12 oz. cans)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Lightly coat a shallow 9 x 13 casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray or butter and line with slices of bread to cover.
- Scatter zucchini and sausage over the bread.
- Sprinkle with onions and cheese.
- Lay remaining bread slices over the cheese.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and egg whites together until foamy. Add milk, thyme, mustard, salt and pepper and mix well.
- Pour mixture over bread.
- Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Sprinkle strata with Parmesan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until it is puffy and golden brown.
- Serve hot.
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