Pepper Strata

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Still having an abundance of peppers and with a vegetarian coming to brunch, I decided that a red pepper strata was the perfect dish to complete my brunch buffet.  A strata is a like a savory bread pudding.  The bread and custard mixture can be combined with meats or vegetables to produce a satisfying breakfast or brunch treat.  The dish is also surprisingly easy to make but the trick is to prepare it the night before you want to serve it.  Let the bread absorb the custard overnight then pop it in the oven the next morning.  Your guests will think you awoke at the crack of dawn.

PEPPER STRATA

1 loaf French bread

8 eggs

3 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion minced

2 cups red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Pince dried mustard

1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded

1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded

Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place in a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pepper and saute until soft and fragrant.  Add to the bread cubes and toss to combine.

In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, thyme, salt, pepper and mustard. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and peppers and mix gently with a rubber spatula.

Add half of the Swiss cheese and half of the Cheddar cheese to the bread mixture and stir to combine.

Transfer to the prepared baking dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the strata.

Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until the strata is golden brown and puffy.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

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