Strata with artichokes, leeks, and green olives

May 13, 2009

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Serves 6

This baked bread, egg, artichoke, and leek dish uses Pain d'Avignon's olive bread, but you can make it with other hearty breads. If you're not using olive bread, increase the amount of olives to 1 cup. To make it in advance, assemble the dish but do not bake it; refrigerate overnight. Let the dish sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

Butter (for the dish)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, well rinsed and chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 cans (14 ounces each) artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
1 1/2 pounds olive or other hearty bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (enough to make 8 packed cups)
6 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup crumbled feta

1. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the leeks, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until they soften. Add the rosemary and continue cooking for 2 minutes more.

3. Add the artichokes and olives to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

4. Remove pan from the heat. In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes and artichoke mixture. Leave to cool slightly.

5. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

6. In a bowl, beat the eggs; stir in the milk.

7. Stir the feta into the bread mixture. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Pour the egg mixture on top. Transfer to the oven. Bake for 50 minutes or until the custard is set and the top is browned. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Leigh Belanger