Mushroom and pancetta strata

Serves: 6
Course: Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch
Cooking Time: 50 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 115g pancetta
  • 120g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 courgette, sliced
  • 225g sliced white bread, torn and dried out in the oven
  • 6 eggs
  • 450ml milk
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1½tsp dried oregano
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 120g white mature cheddar cheese, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Fry the pancetta until crisp, then set it aside.

3. Fry the mushrooms until lightly golden, this is to dry them out slightly. Set aside.

4. Fry the courgettes until lightly golden on each side and set aside.

5. Whisk the eggs with the milk. Season with a little salt, pepper and mustard.

6. Dry the bread out in a low oven by spreading the torn slices on a tray and leaving to bake for about 30 minutes at 130 degrees, rotating the tray and stirring the bread every 10 minutes or so. This will make the bread absorb the egg mix better than stale bread would.

7. Grease the sides and base of an oven-proof dish, about eight square inches.

8. Arrange half the bread at the base, followed by half the pancetta, tomatoes, mushrooms and courgette. Add half the dried oregano and a handful of cheese.

9. Repeat this procedure with the bread, vegetables and pancetta. Pour the egg mix over the top. Dust with the remaining oregano and finish with a handful of cheese. Gently press down the mixture using a flexible spatula to ensure all of the layers are submerged in the egg custard. Cover the dish tightly with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes until puffed up and golden.

10. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before slicing into portions.

Lilly Higgins

Lilly Higgins

Lilly Higgins, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a food writer