Chef Scotty's Back to School Strata

Chef Scotty Irani holds degrees in both Hotel Restaurant Administration & Culinary Arts. He Consults on menus & designs, owns a Personal Chef business and works as a consultant.

I loved the first day of school. Fresh new notebooks, rough dark jeans, fall shirts (even though it was still 100 degrees outside), and Mom’s delicious meaty cheesy strata – that’s a fancy name for breakfast casserole.
Mom’s Strata was a tradition in our home on the first day of school. And for some reason she made this for funerals as well. Strange!

Strata is terribly easy to make. Best prepped the night before and stored in the refrigerator, pop in the oven the next morning while everyone is getting dolled up, and serve golden bubbly. This is great for lake weekends with the guys (or girls) as well.

12 slices of bread (a good artisan bread would be nice)
1 c. ham, cubed or about 6oz. sliced ham
8 large eggs 4 c. milk
1 c. onions, finely chopped 1 c. Swiss cheese, grated
1 c. cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp. salt (salt from the ham and cheese will add to the casserole)
Pepper to taste

Layer bread evenly across bottom of a 9×13 dish. Layer onions, ham, cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese evenly on top of bread cubes. If using sliced ham I’ve found it better to make slits through the top, so the custard mixture can get through.
Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper together. Pour evenly over the ingredients in the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown and knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Let this rest for a while before cutting. It will decrease all the juices on the bottom of your Strata.

To all you parents, congrats on surviving the summer! To all you students…go get’em!