One of the best things about Christmas morning is a cozy family breakfast together. There;s nothing like sitting down and sharing a sumptuous and yummy special treat. A breakfast casserole is the perfect dish for this It has the best AM foods like bacon eggs and bread along with some other flavorful ingredients. It is the perfect start to a holy day and holiday.
Melissa Clark gave her recipe for it in her A Good Appetite column today's New York Times Food section. It's similar to strata with a few tweaks..It's an easy bake for novice home chefs and a break from the usual holiday morning fare for more experienced cooks.There is a ratio of one egg to one cup of dairy to a cup of cubed bread However there are so many variations, to try any one is a good combo. Start with the bread. As per Ms. Clark, the lighter the loaf, the more ethereal the casserole. A good choice is the airy French brioche, followed by the honey sweetened challah,good white bread (think straight from the bakery or Pepperidge Farm sandwich white) and a light whole wheat bread.Stay away from the ones that are too hearty, seedy or grainy, She uses toasted croissants that have been oven toasted for only five to ten minutes.Try to get good croissants if you can at this late date.. Au Bon Pain has the best but Dunkin Donuts and Stop and Shop have good ones too. Just remember that the staler it the the more the read will absorb the custard. Another way of having crispy bread is toasting it in a very hot oven (NO toasters ,please). This will dry it out and also give it a deep caramelized flavor.
This recipes calls for a lot of eggs, eight in all. Ms. Clark also suggests just using the yolks for a truly custardy texture, along with three cups of milk and one cup of heavy cream. You could also just add all milk or all cream however the combination of the two adds to the casserole's silkiness.A quarter of a pound of Italian sausage is added however you could also use maple infused breakfast ones , cubed ham or cooked bacon (or if you want all of them) . Gruyere is a must and if you can get the smoked for the intense flavor. It's grated so it blends in perfectly into the dish. sauteed and roasted vegetables can be added too. Try spinach, mushrooms or cherry tomatoes. If you want potatoes, then serve them on the side as extra crispy hash browns or plank fries.I think they'd be a bit too much in this dish.Ms. Clark even recommends adding bits of dried fruit such as figs or apricots. Have the figs simmered in port or the apricots in white wine first to make them even more tastier.It's a nice shot of boozy sweetness amidst all the savory. The recipe does call for scallions and sage for flavoring, You could also sub in rosemary and oregano if you're tossing in the tomatoes and Italian sausage.Everything is place din a buttered casserole dish and baked the next morning.
Make this yummy and easy breakfast casserole Christmas morning. It's a nice treat after present opening and gift giving. It's warm and cozy , just like the holiday itself.