Dinner is served with a hearty mix and bake casserole of market fresh veggies, torn sourdough and plenty of herbs that get baked to a delicious roast goodness. Light, healthy and no-fuss make-ahead cooking at its very best.
We might not be familiar with the term strata here in Australia but we definitely cook and eat it from time to time. A term coined in the realms of American cuisine, a strata is a layered casserole of sorts baked in a single pan and will often consist of bread, veggies or meat cooked in an egg base. Yes, you guessed it. We probably call it frittata. But I think the main point of difference between a strata and a frittata is the inclusion of torn bread in the former. All naming aside, a strata is a lifesaver of a dish that can be assembled with minimal fuss then either baked straightaway or left to develop flavours in the fridge and popped in the oven when the need for a quick dinner arises.
My market veggie strata is no different. I go to the Hornsby Organic Markets on Thursdays. There is some produce that is available year round and that forms the base of my purely veggie strata. Capsicum, mushroom, sweet potato and spinach along with a loaf of sourdough and plenty of herbs in my market basket ensure that dinner will be highly textural and very satisfying with a lot of hearty roast veggie goodness. You basically take a bit of this and a bit of that in a large bowl with torn bread, herbs, egg and seasoning. You then tip it all in a metal oven-proof tin and bake. I will often cling wrap it for later that evening and then serve it with lots of greens and often a savoury sauce to make a complete meal. The baked strata also freezes well. I have tried it and it has warmed up our nights on days I was too tired to cook. This recipe then goes on rotation in my kitchen over the seasons when I swap seasonal veggies and give it a whole new take. It is without doubt my favourite kind of blank canvas cooking.
MARKET VEGGIE STRATA
- 2 cups (200 g) cubed sourdough bread
- 1 (80 g) small red capsicum, diced
- 4 (40 g) small button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 (200 g) small sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus extra for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme plus extra for garnish
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place bread, vegetables and garlic in a large bowl. Add the mustard, sauce, vinegar, olive oil and thyme. Toss to combine.
- Spray a 25cm x 18cm x 6.5cm metal pie dish with cooking spray. Tip the vegetable and bread mixture evenly in to the baking dish and spread evenly.
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs until fluffy. Add the milk. Season with salt and pepper and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Gently pour the milk mixture over the vegetables in the baking dish taking care to soak all the bread evenly. Cover with cling wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or overnight until ready to bake.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for approximately 45 minutes until cooked through and golden. Drizzle with extra olive oil, garnish with thyme and serve hot.