With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I’m reminded of growing up in the Clive household, where we would celebrate Mother’s Day in grand style. The day would begin with my brother and I waking early to prepare a hearty homemade grilled brunch! Over the years, both my parents shared with us their secrets at the grill, handing down tips and tricks that they grew up with. It was also very helpful that my dad knew the dishes that would make my mom ever so happy.
So, there we were in the backyard, whisking up eggs, grilling sausage and chopping herbs to create a spectacular sausage and pepper strata hot off the grill. The final stage was to arrange the breakfast tray with all the food, juice, and even a small vase with my mom’s favourite flowers before quietly walking upstairs to present her Mother’s Day breakfast in bed.
To say that this made up for all the years of headaches my brother and I gave my mom would be an over statement, however this recipe certainly helped.
Tomato and Sausage Strata Recipe
Prep time: 20 minutes
Refrigeration time: overnight
Grilling time: 10 to 12 minutes for the sausages, plus 30 to 40 minutes for the strata
Special equipment: GBS griddle or 12-inch cast-iron skillet
2–3 fresh mild Italian sausages, each about 4 ounces, pierced a few times with a fork
8 large eggs
1⅔ cups whole milk
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 loaf Italian bread, cut into ¾-inch cubes (to make 8 cups)
1 pint small grape tomatoes
1 roasted red bell pepper (from a jar), cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into ¼- to ½-inch cubes
1½ teaspoons unsalted butter
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano® cheese
1. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).
2. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the sausages over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they are cooked through and no longer pink in the center, 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from the grill and turn off the grill.
3. Cut the cooked sausages in half lengthwise and then cut them crosswise into thin slices. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, milk, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the sausage slices, bread cubes, tomatoes, bell pepper, and mozzarella cheese to the bowl and toss to coat evenly.
4. Grease the GBS griddle or 12-inch cast-iron skillet with the butter. Put the mixture in the skillet and top with the Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Allow the skillet to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling.
5. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-low heat (about 350°F).
6. Remove and discard the foil from the griddle/skillet. Grill over direct medium-low heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the center of the strata is firm (a knife inserted into the center should come out free of uncooked egg) and the bread is toasted, 30 to 40 minutes. Toward the end of the cooking time some liquid may accumulate as the cheese melts. The liquid will reabsorb upon resting. Remove from the grill and let the strata cool for about 10 minutes. Serve warm.