A great summer dish for using up vegetables and for eating light. Plus it takes about 10 minutes to assemble and then you can go dig in the garden while it bakes. Experiment with the strata technique, you can use it to make a wide variety of dishes. This particular incarnation is great with a salad.
- 12 thick slices of French or Italian bread, day old or lightly toasted.
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups of milk
- 5 large eggs
- 1/2 cupof grated parmigiano, divided into 2 piles
- Red pepper flakes
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, all chopped up
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 1 small onion, all chopped up
- 2 medium summer squash or zucchini, sliced lengthwise
- 2 ripe tomatoes, halved, seeded and chopped. Or you can use a can of chopped tomatoes, like I do, its easier that way.
- Get yourself an 8x8 baking dish and butter it up real good.
- Rub each slice of bread with the crushed clove of garlic.
- Lay the slices of bread in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish
- Pour the milk into a bowl and add the eggs,half the cheese,a pinch of red pepper flakes and lots of salt and pepper. Beat it well with a whisk to combine.
- Fold in the basil and set aside.
- Saute the onion in the oil over medium high heat, until it softens.
- Add the squash to the onion and organize them until they lay in a single layer in the pan, let them sit for 2 minutes undisturbed in order to brown them.
- When the squash is brown, add the tomatoes, stir them up, and remove from the heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, move the vegetables from the pan to the baking dish and spread them evenly over the bread.
- Pour the milk and egg mixture over the bread and vegetables. Top with the remainder of the cheese.
- Bake in a 350 F oven for 40-45 minutes, until the egg is set up. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve with lemon wedges or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
You may be tempted not to brown the vegetables, this is a bad idea. This step is crucial to removing excess water from the squash. If you just put the vegetables in, without browning them, you will be left with a nasty water egg milk soup thing.