Friday, August 17, 2012

Bacon & Blue Strata

Julia Child turned 100 on Wednesday. Or, rather, she would have if she was still living. 

But I say that she really is very much so alive in the hearts of the masses. There have been movies, books, tv series, and countless blogs devoted to her. The collective consciousness has not forgotten her, or her recipes. 

On that front however, I've got a confession. I don't own any of her cookbooks. Not a one. 

Many of her recipes can be found among the interwebs, so it's not that I haven't ever used a recipe of hers. I just haven't yet had a chance to purchase her masterwork: Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

It was on our wedding registry, mind you, so I have made a teensy effort. But honestly, I've got my mom's family's recipes to go to - and there's typically enough butter and cream in there to satisfy me!

I do believe that my Grandma Sally (of Lemon Pudding fame) does in fact own a copy of at least one of Julia's books. Though I'm fairly certain that she and Ms. Child are long lost sisters anyway. It may be blasphemous to say - but I think my Grandma could hold her own against Julia in any cooking competition!

(and according to my Aunt Liz, an actual chef and the expert on our family's culinary history, my great Aunt Mary Swarts would fit right in there too. I come from some good roots!)

One dish that I remember fondly from dinners at the farmhouse is strata. It's a savory version of bread pudding. And it is delicious!

Start off with stale bread. Mine was several days old and took some work to cube up. 

Fry up some bacon. 

Fish the bacon out when it's crispy and almost burnt. Add in diced onions and garlic. Let them soften in the bubbling bacon fat.

Mix together milk (add a spot of cream if you have it), eggs, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.

Add a touch of honey and whisk to combine.

Chop up the bacon and scatter over the cubed bread. Add the onions and garlic.

Next, crumble a bit of blue cheese (I used a gorgonzola) over the whole thing. Dust heavily with parmesan. 

Pour the liquid mixture over the top. Let set for at least 15 minutes, preferably 30. 

Bake for an hour at 350 until brown and puffed up. (Seriously - it puffs. Wait for the puff.)

Bacon & Blue Strata

1/2 a day-old baguette
4 strips of bacon
1/4 of a large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 c. milk (or preferably 1 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. cream or half & half)
3 eggs
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp honey
1/4 c. blue cheese (ish)
1/4 c. parmesan (ish)

Cube up your old baguette and place in a buttered 9x9 baking dish. Crisp up the bacon in a pan. Remove when nicely cooked, almost burnt. Add to the bacon fat the onion and garlic. Saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes. 

Cut bacon into bite size pieces and scatter over bread. Spread onion mixture out evenly over bread. Sprinkle the blue cheese and parmesan over the bread as well.

In a large bowl combine the milk (and cream if using), eggs, paprika, salt, pepper, and honey. Whisk well until all is combined. Pour gently over the bread. 

Allow to sit at least 15 minutes, preferably 30. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, until puffed high and golden brown.

Happy 100th Birthday Julia! and Happy 100th post to me!

No comments:

Post a Comment