By Tara Duggan
1 tsp olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
Greens from 1 bunch beets, washed
1/2 cup finely minced onion, leek, or green onion (white and light green parts)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup milk
3 large eggs
3 cups bread such as walnut bread, artisan whole wheat, or country bread (preferably day-old or stale), cut into 1″ cubes
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
Note: If you like, you can add 1 cup cooked and crumbled sausage to the bread when you toss it with the chard.
Step 1: Grease an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with olive oil.
Step 2: As you would with chard, remove the stems from the beet leaves. Thinly slice the stems and cut the leaves into ribbons. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and beet stems and cook, stirring frequently, until partly tender, about 4 minutes. Add the leaves a few handfuls at a time and cook until wilted, 1-2 minutes. Add a splash of water, cover, and cook until the greens and stems are tender, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool slightly.
Step 3: In a medium bowl, combine the milk, eggs, 1/2 tsp salt, and several grindings of pepper. Whisk until smooth.
Step 4: In a medium bowl, toss the bread with the greens and half of the cheese. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan. Slowly pour the egg mixture over so that the bread is evenly coated. Poke down any pieces of bread that can be further nestled in the custard, then top with the remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Step 5: Bring the strata to room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Step 6: Bake until the custard is set, the casserole is bubbly, and you can’t see any liquid when you press the bread lightly, 40-45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Tara Duggan’s Root-to-Stalk Cooking (2013 Ten Speed Press).