Enjoy this rich, savory strata any time of day. The base is a custardy bread pudding, filled with layers of melted Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, bacon, arugula, caramelized onions, and thyme. The definitive comfort food.
"Strata is soft, warm, savory – and a great use of leftovers. This flexible dish can incorporate a variety of herbs, meats, cheeses and vegetables, and can be served for brunch, lunch or dinner." –Heidi Gibson of the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
3¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (27 oz) milk
2 cups (16 oz) cream
1 cup (8 oz) crème fraiche – sour cream, plain yogurt, or buttermilk are all great substitutions for crème fraiche in this recipe
1-2 tablespoons (½-1 oz) of Tillamook Salted Butter, to butter casserole dish
21 oz stale bread cut into 1 inch cubes (a heartier artisan bread like levain, whole wheat, or rye is best, but French, Italian, sourdough or regular white sandwich bread will work just fine too. If your bread isn’t stale, dry it out in a hot 350°F oven on a sheet pan for 7 minutes)
5 oz cooked bacon (smoked turkey, ham, or sautéed mushrooms can be substituted)
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage (thyme, rosemary, or parsley can all be substituted for a different flavor. Dried herbs can be used; just use half as much)
6 oz caramelized onions
4 oz arugula (can substitute chard, kale, or spinach), briefly sautéed
1½ cups (6 oz) Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1½ teaspoons ground black pepper
Make the Custard
Whisk together egg yolks, whole eggs, salt and garlic powder until well blended. Add milk, cream, and crème fraiche and whisk until smooth and blended. Set aside.
Assemble the Strata
Butter a casserole dish (at least 3 quart capacity), then layer in half of the bread, then half of the bacon, half of the sage, half of the caramelized onions, half of the greens, and then half of the cheese. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon black pepper. Repeat with remaining half of ingredients, sprinkling cheese and then remaining ½ teaspoon black pepper on last. Carefully pour custard over entire dish, soaking evenly. Cover dish and refrigerate at least one hour and preferably overnight. Uncover and bake in an oven pre-heated to 325°F for approximately 40-50 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 157°F or until gently puffed and lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly, then scoop into bowls to serve; serve warm.