Cast-Iron Skillet Strata with Bacon and Scallions
Why This Recipe Works
A strata is a layered dish of bread, eggs, cheese, and milk that bakes up into a hearty, savory bread pudding that can be served for breakfast or brunch. We wanted a simplified version for the cast-iron skillet that would deliver the same cheesy richness as a layered casserole but could be made with less fuss. We were after a balance between bread and custard, with a flavorful filling chosen to complement the main ingredients. Our tasters preferred sliced white bread for its neutral flavor and convenience. We decided to toast the bread in the skillet and leave the crusts on, which helped our bread hold up during the cooking process and gave the strata more structure. Whole milk combined in almost equal amounts with the eggs for our custard base provided an even but not overwhelming richness. Five slices of bread cut into small pieces filled the skillet for the perfect balance of craggy crust and soft interior. A full cup of cheddar cheese mixed into the eggs added sharpness, and scallions lent a welcome fresh note. Bacon contributed some smokiness, and its rendered fat helped to toast the bread. After sautéing the onions and toasting the bread, we folded in the custard-cheese mixture and moved the skillet to the oven. Finishing the strata in a 425-degree oven helped produce a delicate, soufflé-like texture.