There are a lot of tasty egg-based brunch dishes out there, and we love them all. But, I often find myself a little confused over what to call the dish we’re making for breakfast or brunch. Is it a strata? A frittata? A quiche? And, don’t even get me started on the confusion savory bread pudding adds to the mix!
Maybe I should just do like the rest of my family does and call any of them a “brunch bake”.
Unfortunately, my curiosity won’t let me go down that route. So, I did a bit of research to clear up my confusion.
(One of the differences below is the use of beaten eggs verses a custard. A custard is simply a mixture of eggs beaten with milk.)
A flat, Italian omelet that is typically prepared in a cast iron skillet. Beaten eggs are cooked in the skillet with vegetables and meats until the eggs begin to set. It is then topped with cheese and finished by baking in the oven. (This is very similar to a Spanish Omelet, which is also flat, but traditionally contains potatoes and is fried on both sides in the skillet. And, very different from a French Omelet, where the egg base is cooked alone before adding other ingredients and folding half of the cooked egg over them.)
A quiche is a savory pie that is filled with a custard and may contain added ingredients like cheese, meats, and/or vegetable.
Strata/ Savory Bread Pudding
That’s right. They’re the same!
I’ll let that blow your mind for a second. Because, it blew mine.
In these baked dishes, ingredients such as cheese, veggies, and meat are layered with cubed, stale bread (particularly the crusty variety). A custard mixture of 1 part eggs to 2 parts milk, up to equal parts of each, is blended with seasonings and poured over the layers. The dish is let set for a time so that the bread can absorb the liquid, and then it is baked.
While this tends to end up as a catch all term, most often it is used to refer to baked breakfast dishes that do not contain bread. Instead, they include potatoes or hash browns with a custard mixture and other ingredients such as vegetables, meats, and cheeses.
Since we’re talking bread and eggs, today’s dish falls into the strata or savory bread pudding category.
But, if you love the flavors of Kalamata olives and feta cheese as much as we do, you’ll probably just call it delicious!
Today’s post wouldn’t be complete without a Mother’s Day shout out to my wonderful Mom. She taught me to cook very patiently in her kitchen, inspired my fascination with cultural foods and how things were done in days past with the stories of my grandmother’s life, and encourages me daily even if we don’t have time to connect.
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tsp oil
- 8 eggs
- 1 ½ c milk
- 2 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp basil
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 c frozen, chopped, spinach (thawed)
- ⅔ c Kalamata olives, pitted and drained
- ½ c feta cheese
- 20 oz sourdough bread (roughly 8 c when cubed)
- In a small, non-stick frying pan, sauté onions with 1 tsp oil until soft.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and seasonings. Add spinach, olives, cheese and sauteed onions. Mix well.
- Cut bread into 1” cubes. Add cubes to egg mixture and toss to coat.
- Pour mixture into a greased, shallow, 3 qt baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
- The next morning, place the covered strata in the cool oven. Heat the oven to 375?F.
- Bake the strata, covered for 30 minutes. Remove the foil covering and bake an additional 20 minutes, until the strata is puffed and does not jiggle when shaken.
- Remove the strata from the oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.