Blockbuster Brunch

Photo by Martha Busse

Breakfast usually isn’t breathtaking: a bowl of cereal, a bagel or a cup of coffee as we run out the door. Brunch is another story: it has to be bigger and better than our usual day-to-day fare. The beauty of this meal is that, with a little planning, much of the food can be assembled ahead of time and still steal the weekend show. This strata is put together the night before and its rich, savory flavors belie the relative simplicity of the preparation. When it is paired with a fruit salad, a bakery-purchased sweet bread and some good coffee, you have an easy, delicious brunch. You can relax and entertain without the fuss.

Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Strata

INGREDIENTS 18 slices firm white bread (such as English muffin or sourdough), crusts removed
6 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
4 ounces provolone, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
6 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil 5 large eggs
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Pepper to taste DIRECTIONS

  • Line bottom of 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish completely with 1 layer of bread, cutting some slices to fit. Arrange half of prosciutto evenly over bread. Sprinkle half of goat cheese and layer half of provolone over prosciutto. Sprinkle with half of green onions and half of basil. Top with second layer of bread. Layer remaining prosciutto, goat cheese, provolone, green onions and basil atop bread. Cut remaining bread into 1/4-inch cubes. Sprinkle over top.
  • Whisk eggs, milk, mustard, and salt in bowl. Season with pepper. Pour egg mixture over strata; press down on bread with spatula. Drizzle melted butter over strata. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover strata and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake until center is set, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Place strata under broiler until top is golden, about 30 seconds. Cut into large squares and serve.

Makes 6 servings. Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2003 Nancy Lynch is a self-taught cook from a family of foodies. E-mail your questions, comments or recipe requests to

Madison Magazine - April 2007
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