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An eggy strata for a romantic breakfast in bed

Egg stratis perfect dish for Valentine's Day breakfast bed. | AP Photo/Matthew Mead

Egg strata is the perfect dish for Valentine's Day breakfast in bed. | AP Photo/Matthew Mead

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Updated: March 7, 2013 6:17AM



Casseroles are a funny thing. You aren’t likely to see them lauded as the hot new food trend any time soon. Yet make a great one, and suddenly folks clamor for the recipe.

My favorite casserole is one that typically is served for breakfast or brunch. It’s called an egg strata, and I love it because it’s easy to prep ahead of time, and bakes up light and fluffy, and yet is substantial and satisfying — a perfect choice for a romantic breakfast in bed come Valentine’s Day.

If you make a sweet strata for Valentine’s Day, try stuffing it with strawberries and chocolate for a new twist on everyone’s beloved chocolate-covered strawberries.

There are simpler strata recipes available, but I still love the original I grew up with. It uses more eggs and a mixture of milk and half-and-half for a richer, more quiche-like custard.

Letting the strata rest before baking allows the bread to become saturated by the egg mixture and other flavors. I like to let it rest overnight to produce the creamiest result. I just uncover it and pop it in the oven. But if you prefer to make it the day of, plan to let it rest for at least an hour in the refrigerator.

VALENTINE’S DAY BREAKFAST-IN-BED EGG STRATA

Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes (15 minutes active), plus resting time

Servings: 4

6 eggs

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup half-and-half

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

Dash nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

3 slices white sandwich bread, cubed

1 pound sage breakfast sausage, cooked, drained and crumbled

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped scallions

Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, half-and-half, salt, mustard, nutmeg and white pepper.

In the prepared baking dish, layer half each of the bread, sausage, cheese and scallions, then repeat using the remaining ingredients to create a second layer of each. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the layers, gently pressing with a fork to make sure all of the ingredients are submerged.

Cover the baking dish with foil, crimping the edges tight. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to overnight (longer is better).

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 350 F. Uncover and bake the strata for 1 hour, or until puffy and a knife inserted at the center comes out clean.



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