Saturday, June 03, 2006

the 24-hour omelet

Our friend Lloyd was visiting from D.C., and Brian and Jennifer organized a breakfast so that all of us could see him. Brian and Jennifer are tremendous hosts, so it is no surprise that a meal advertised as bagels and coffee turned out to be a first-class spread with wonderful fruit, delicious home-made muffins and a fantastic egg dish that was quite light, fluffy and flavorful.

Hours later, after we were stuffed with breakfast and we were still savoring the delightful Ceretto Santo Stefano Muscato d’Asti Brian had opened to torture James, I asked Jennifer how she made the delicious eggs. She pulled a Cooks Illustrated cookbook from the shelf and directed me to the recipe for the 24-Hour “Omelet” as refined in America’s Test Kitchen.

The recipe needs to be made at least 8 hours in advance, and it can be prepared as early as 36-hours before. It is easy enough for someone like me to follow, and it is perfect for entertaining. The only thing you have to do the morning of your brunch is slide the casserole dish into your pre-heated oven and serve the masterpiece 1 hour later.

24-Hour “Omelet”
serves 6 to 8

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
10 slices white sandwich bread
12 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
8 large eggs
3 cups whole milk
1 small onion, grated
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Spread the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over 1 side each of the 10 slices of bread. Cut the bread into 1-inch pieces. Scatter half of the bread evenly in the prepared dish and cover with half of the grated cheddar cheese. Add the remain bread and cover with the remaining cheese

2. Whisk the eggs, milk, onion, salt, pepper, mustard and Tabasco together in a medium bowl. Pour evenly over the bread and press the bread cubes lightly to submerge. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours to achieve the desired consistency

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and placed the refrigerated dish on the middle positioned rack. Baked until puffed and golden brown (60 minutes) and serve immediately


At 11:08 AM, Blogger James Mills said...

I, too, loved the omelet. However, my lovely, benign overlord permitted me three tastes of the Muscato.

At 6:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is called a "strata". My mother has been making it on Christmas and Easter mornings since I can remember and it's a big hit in my family. I don't have her exact recipe, but here's a close one.

You can use anything you want spice-wise (my mother's calls for about 6 different spices besides salt and pepper, including dry mustard, garlic, onion, oregano, sage, and more). Experiement. Bacon and/or sausage (link or patty) is great. Jalapenos or bell peppers are good too. I would recommend using some sort of baguette for the bread layer instead of something like wonderbread or the like.

As you probably already know, this dish makes friends and influences people. Learn to make your family's own version, and learn it well!

At 10:11 PM, Blogger paul said...

thank you for the excellent comment!

At 6:45 AM, Anonymous bpm1200 said...

No problem (didn't fill in my name by accident last time.) It's just about the greatest breakfast food ever, with the possible exception of fresh, hot donuts. Found you via the Digg article and I'm now a regular reader.

At 11:38 PM, Blogger paul said...


Excellent name. I have 3 1200mk2's at home and a few thousand 12"'s.

I am delighted that you are enjoying my blog. My motivation in writing has been for my friends, but I have been most excited when others have become regular readers. I hope the topics aren't too eclectic of late.


At 6:37 PM, Anonymous bpm1200 said...

Thanks. I used to spin out a good bit, but the Ohio area wasn't exactly all about my brand of house music (I like big, circuit tribal, ala Manny Lehman and Abel/Rosabel). Coupled with two shadey promoters, that was enough to get me out of the scene here. So, I'm the resident dj of my bedroom once more (I should've stayed in D.C.) I did just recently discover beatport, which would be less of a strain on my recent-college-grad budget (doesn't exactly support a healthy vinyl habit), so that might get me playing more again.

Anyway, I do enjoy your blog. It's not too eclectic for me. Maybe a little San Fran centric, but I would expect no less...write about what you know. Like you said, it's mostly for your friends. You can't please all of the people all of the time. Anyway, keep the good stuff coming and I'll be reading. I'll chime in if I have anything insightful to add.


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