We had only lived in Beacon for about six minutes before Matt decided he wanted to build a coop and raise chickens. Being a born and raised New York City girl (whose idea of the “country” was the slightly less organized part of Central Park), I thought he was nuts. Well, I know he’s nuts but I that’s pretty much why I married him. I still thought raising chickens would be … unwise for two people who had lived the rural life for all of a millisecond. [Matt says: Speak for yourself, city girl, you know where I grew up, every set of directions included the step, “Turn left at the first cow, and if you reach the second cow, you’ve gone too far”]
Now I can admit it. I was wrong. Not only have the chickens been awesome, they’re also the easiest of our animals to take care of and they contribute to the household by laying delicious, fresh eggs. In fact, they lay so many damn eggs that using them up is actually the most difficult part of keeping them. [Matt is holding a shovel and a large bag of chicken poo and shaking his head sadly for some reason.]
Nerd alert: I’ve come to realize that chickens are hilarious so let’s have a chicken caption contest. Write in the comments what you think each chicken is thinking.
Now back to eggy business. As I said, we have a lot of eggs so I’m always looking for interesting ways to use them beyond just egg salads and omelets (though I love both those things). Then I remembered that I used to make a great dish called a strata.
What’s a strata, you ask? Well, if a quiche and a bread pudding had a delicious, savory baby, it would be a strata.
I’ve always made a spinach version. which is delicious but I had fresh corn and scallions in the fridge and thought it might be a good combination. After a quick google search I saw that Smitten Kitchen had a recipe with pretty much the exact same ingredients so I decided it must be good idea. Not surprisingly, it’s so, so good. I added a bit of red chili and a tiny bit of thyme to mine because I love that flavor combination but other than that, I didn’t change much at all.
It would be perfect for a brunch party because you prep it a day ahead and just pop it in the oven about an hour before you’re ready to eat. We had it for dinner with a kale salad and a glass of wine. Perfection.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 cups fresh corn (cut from about 3 medium cobs)
- 1 jalapeño or serrano chili, seeded and finely diced
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme (1/4 dried)
- 1½ cups thinly sliced scallions (both white and green)
- 8 cups bread (country, wheat or French) cut in 1-inch cubes (about 10-12 oz)
- 2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely grated sharp cheddar
- 1 cup (2 ounces) finely grated parmesan
- 9 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2¾ cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon course kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Generously butter a 3-quart baking dish (or a 9×13-inch lasagne pan). Toss corn, jalapeño, thyme and scallions together in a medium bowl. Combine cheeses in another bowl. In a large bowl, beat eggs and mayo together, then whisk in milk, salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Spread one-third of bread cubes in prepared baking dish — it won’t fully cover the bottom of dish. Add one-third of corn mixture, then cheese mixture. Repeat layering two more times with the rest of the ingredients, ending with a top layer of corn and cheese. Carefully pour egg mixture evenly over strata (a measuring cup is useful for this). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.
- When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown and cooked through, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.