To go along with our “What’s in Season” post, we’re bringing you a perfect summer recipe to celebrate the arrival of tomato season. It’s tough to pin down a single recipe to best highlight the island’s perfect tomatoes. Sea salt, pepper, and good olive oil are all you really need to highlight the tomato at its freshest. But there are some more adventurous preparations that are equally delicious. Gretchen Andersen, a long-time Nantucketer and incredible basket weaver, has a great strata recipe in Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm Cookbook.
If quarantine has ignited a desire to embark on more adventurous culinary adventures, Gretchen’s strata is the perfect tomato recipe for you. It’s not too complicated, but it’ll take some more time than your three-ingredient Caprese salad. It’s equally delicious as breakfast, lunch, or dinner, especially on a chilly Junuary day!
Gretchen Anderson’s Tomato and Cheese Strata
This strata must be made in advance of serving. Any leftovers can be sliced into small pieces, placed in a buttered baking dish, drizzled with olive oil and heated until bubbly.
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green peppers, minced
12 medium tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1 small can tomato paste
dash each of cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, oregano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
3 to 4 fresh jalapeños, seeded and chopped (wear rubber gloves)
16 slices white bread (preferably Portuguese), buttered and cubed
1⁄2 pound cheddar cheese, grated
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1. In a skillet, heat oil and sauté onions, garlic and peppers for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender.
2. Mix together tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs and jalapeños. Add to onion mixture and simmer for 30 minutes until thickened.
3. In a buttered 9×13-inch pan, layer half the bread, tomato sauce, half the cheese, remaining bread and cheese.
4. Combine eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper and mix. Pour over the casserole and make sure all bread is covered.
5. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
6. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350° F. and bake for 1 hour.