A baked omelette with attitude or a type of savoury bread pudding? You decide. This courgette strata is a take on an Italian classic and it makes for a quick, easy and satisfying meal. Great for a substantial brunch, lunch or evening repast. Hey, you can even call it zucchini strata if you like.
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I’ve made this courgette strata several times over the summer. Once our courgettes started to produce, we were inundated. This omelette with attitude is a great way to use them up. In fact it’s become a firm favourite with us. Why? Because it’s really delicious.
What is Strata?
If you’ve not heard of strata before, you’re probably wondering what the heck it is. Basically it’s a cross between a frittata and a bread pudding and it’s an Italian classic. It’s a perfect mix of comforting soaked eggy bread and soft custard underneath, with crisp crusty croutons on the top.
Strata means layers and this dish usually comes in the form of a layered casserole. You can layer it with all sorts, but typically it has a vegetable or meat layer, bread of course and cheese to finish. It’s big in America where it’s most commonly served for breakfast. The bread and other ingredients are soaked in the egg mixture over night. As the sun rises, the strata is popped into the oven so it’s ready in time for breakfast.
I love this idea and it sounds perfect for a weekend brunch with friends or family. But actually, it makes a great midweek supper or a fuss-free meal whenever you need food on the table fast. I like to add plenty of vegetables so there’s a good mix of protein, carbs, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
As I’ve already intimated, courgette strata makes for a delicious and quick one-pot main meal. Sometimes I add cheese to ring the changes, but mostly I don’t. We’ve found there’s plenty of flavour and umami notes going on without it and there’s already dairy in the egg mixture.
There’s an option to add a little double cream for an extra rich custard, but it’s almost as good without. If I have cream in the fridge I use it and if there isn’t any, I don’t.
I like to add spinach for an extra nutritional and flavour boost, but I only use it if it’s available. Courgettes are plentiful at the moment, so they’re the star of the show. I also add a few tomatoes for colour and that essential umami flavour. And they too are abundant at this time of year. You can use whatever type of tomatoes you have available. Small cherry type ones can go in whole, but you’ll need to cut larger ones up.
As bread is another key ingredient in this courgette strata, it’s important to use the right bread. You don’t want to use anything that’s too soft or insubstantial. Slightly stale crusty bread is the best. This makes it a particularly good dish for using up leftover bread. Having said that I use cubes of wholemeal bread, which aren’t particularly crusty, but they are substantial.
You will need either a good non-stick frying pan that can go in the oven or a shallow casserole that can sit on the oven top. I use my cast iron skillet*.
How to Make Courgette Strata – Step-By-Step
You can see from the following steps, just how easy this courgette strata is to make. The most difficult part is waiting as patiently as you can whilst delicious and tempting scents waft around the kitchen.
1. Heat oil in a non-stick oven proof pan and fry the courgettes.
2. Add spring onions (scallions), garlic, chilli and herbs.
3. Add butter followed by bread cubes.
4. Stir in the tomatoes or for a more attractive finish, scatter over the top.
5. Whilst the bread is frying, whisk eggs, milk, cream (if using) and salt together.
6. Pour over the courgettes and bread.
7. Pop into the oven and get on with whatever tasks you need to do whilst it cooks.
8. Serve and enjoy. Feeds two as a main or four as a light lunch or breakfast.
Adapt Your Courgette Strata
As with many simple dishes, you can adapt strata to suit individual tastes and whatever you have in the fridge. As long as you use the essential ingredients of bread and eggs, you’re good to go.
- Substitute pesto. If you don’t mind a green omelette, use a couple of teaspoons of pesto instead of the herbs. Just whisk it into the egg mixture before you pour it over the veg and bread. It may look a little odd, but it tastes wonderful.
- Add grated or sliced cheese on the top just before it goes into the oven. Slices of goat’s cheese or chunks of feta are particularly good, but grated hard cheeses such as vegetarian parmesan, gruyere or even cheddar are all good.
- No courgettes? No problem. Why not try sweet peppers, aubergine or cubes of winter squash.
- All alliums are good. You don’t have to use spring onions (scallions). Instead, fry a chopped leek, a couple of shallots or an onion for a few minutes before adding the courgette.
- Use your favourite herbs. Mediterranean herbs work best to keep the Italian theme. But parsley, sage or finely chopped rosemary are all good too.
- Don’t like it hot? Leave out the chilli.
Make it Vegan.
Use a mix of chickpea flour and water instead of the eggs, milk and cream. You could add a little nutritional yeast to the mix for flavour and / or black salt. In fact I have a vegan version of savoury bread pudding where I do just that.
Other Courgette Recipes You Might Like
- Chocolate courgette squares
- Courgette cake with lime & mascarpone frosting
- Courgette chickpea pancakes
- Slow cooker vegetable stew
- Spiced courgette fritters
- Summer green soup with parsley & almond pesto
- Tempeh courgette hash
- Three allium courgette tart
You can also find over seventy zucchini recipes from food bloggers around the world in this post for All The Courgette Recipes You Will Ever Need.
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you try this easy courgette strata recipe, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate it. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like more easy dinner recipes, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them. All delicious, of course.
Courgette Strata. PIN IT.
Courgette Strata – The Recipe
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium courgettes – or 1 large one – cut into roughly 2 cm chunks
- leaves from a few sprigs of thyme and marjoram or oregano or use 2 tsp pesto instead
- 2 spring onions (scallions) – sliced
- 1 small red chilli – finely chopped remove seeds if you don't like the heat
- 1 large clove garlic – finely chopped
- 15 g unsalted butter
- 4 thick slices crusty wholemeal bread – cut into bite sized chunks
- 10 cherry tomatoes or roughly chop 2-3 medium or 1 large tomato instead
- handful spinach (optional)
- 3 eggs
- 100 ml milk
- 1 tbsp double cream (optional)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Set the oven to 160℃ (320℉, Gas 3).
- Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof, non-stick pan over a medium heat. I use a 10" (25 cm) cast iron skillet.
- Fry the courgettes for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the herbs, spring onions, chilli and garlic and continue to fry for a further two minutes.
- Add the butter, wait for it to melt, then add the bread chunks. Fry for a further five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomatoes and spinach if using. If using mature spinach, chop it first, but baby spinach will be fine as is. Toss together for a couple of minutes until the spinach has wilted.
- Meanwhile, thoroughly whisk the eggs, milk, cream (if using) and salt together in a jug. Pour over the courgette mixture and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. The eggs should be just set and any bread poking out of the top crispy.
I’m sharing this recipe for easy courgette strata recipe with Feast Glorious Feast for #CookBlogShare.
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