It’s no secret that I’m a member of the kale-obsessed, that strange breed of people who could eat kale every day of their lives.
I generally eat it in salads (this holiday kale salad and this kale Caesar are favorites). My kale of choice is usually lacinato kale, pictured in its full November glory in the above photo, but in this recipe, any kale variety will do.
I especially eat a lot of kale at this time of year because even up here on the wintery east coast, it’s one of the few greens we can still harvest, sometimes well into January. In this strata recipe (basically, a savory bread pudding), kale is paired with sun-dried tomatoes in a rich eggy batter with toasted bread chunks, grated Gruyère and mozzarella, and a generous splash of vermouth for good measure. A perfectly festive breakfast for Christmas morning.
Here are some of the reasons I love this recipe:
- You can make it the night before and bake it the next morning.
- If you bring it to a potluck brunch, everyone will love you.
- It can be served for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- It’s a great way to use up stale bread, or to turn discounted day-old bread from your favorite bakery into a filling meal.
- If you live with any kale haters, they probably won’t even bat an eyelash about eating it in this dish.
- On a cold winter day, I can think of nothing I want to eat more (except for baba au rhum)
- You can make endless variations of this recipe: add some artichoke hearts or olives, sausage or chopped leek, the options are endless.
Have I sold you on it yet?! Either way, here’s wishing you all a very joyful holiday season filled with delicious food shared with the people you love. Happy holidays!
Kale and Sun-Dried Tomato Strata
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cup chopped onion)
- 4 cups lightly packed chopped kale (about 1/2 large bunch or 1 small bunch)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 4 oz gruyere (1 cup grated)
- 6 oz mozzarella (1 1/2 cup grated)
- 1/2 cup vermouth (or any dry white wine)
- About 6 cups chopped baguette or good quality European-style bread (stale bread works best)
- 2 1/2 cups half-and-half cream (or 2 cups milk, for a lighter version)
- 7 large eggs
- Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the sun-dried tomatoes in small bowl. Let them rehydrate for 15 minutes, then drain the water. Chop the tomatoes in roughly 1/2 inch slices. (I often use slow-roasted tomatoes from my garden that I froze, so feel free to do that if you have some on hand.)
- In a large skillet, place the 3 Tbsp olive oil and chopped onion on medium heat and sauté until the onions are translucent and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped kale, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the kale is wilted slightly. Remove from heat and pour in the vermouth or white wine. Allow the mixture to cool.
- Chop the bread into cubes (about 3/4 inch in size). I find old stale bread yields best results. (If your bread is fresh, you can cube it and toss it in a couple tablespoonfuls of olive oil, then bake it on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes in a 350F oven to crisp it up a bit.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs well. Add the milk and cream and whisk until thick and creamy.
- Place the stale or toasted bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the grated cheeses and toss lightly. Add the kale and tomato mixture as well as the cheese and cream mixture. Give it a gentle mix and then pour it into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. At this stage, some recipes recommend placing the covered dish in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight, before baking. I prefer baking it right away. Whichever method you chose, when you're ready to bake it, do so in a 350 F oven for about 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife blade inserted comes out clean. It should be nice and golden on top. (If it came out of the fridge, it may need a few extra minutes of baking).
- Let the strata cool for about 10 minutes before serving. (It can also be kept in fridge after it's baked, for up to 3 days, and reheated in the oven as needed).
Yield: 8-10 servings
Aube Giroux is a food writer and filmmaker who shares her love of cooking on her farm-to-table blog, Kitchen Vignettes.
Aube is a passionate organic gardener and home cook who likes to share the stories of how food gets to our dinner plates. Her work has been shown on television and at international film festivals. Her web series was nominated for a 2014 James Beard Award. In 2012, she was the recipient of Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog award in the video category.