Zucchini Strata

This zucchini strata from Yotam Ottolenghi is made with ciabatta bread soaked in a rich custard-like concoction of milk, cream, and egg and then cooked in a single skillet with zucchini and basil and a crisp golden Parmesan crust.

A white baking dish filled with zucchini strata

This magnificent zucchini strata bears all the typical understated elegance found in every creation from Yotam Ottolenghi. The custardy texture is ethereally light, fluffy, and comforting in that way that only happens when you soak bread in milk and finds a lovely contrast in a crisp, golden brown Parmesan crust. Everything else—eggs, cheese, zucchini, basil, bread—is in perfect proportion to one another. Thank you yet again, Ottolenghi.–Angie Zoobkoff

Zucchini Strata

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 6
5/5 - 2 reviews
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Ingredients

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  • 1 pound store-bought or homemade ciabatta, crusts removed and reserved for bread crumbs, bread torn into small chunks (6 cups)
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini (3 to 4 cups), coarsely grated
  • 1 1/4 cups basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • 2. In a medium bowl, combine the ciabatta, milk, and cream and mix well. Cover and wait for the bread to absorb most of the liquid, about 30 minutes.
  • 3. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, eggs, cumin, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix well and then add the bread and its liquid followed by the zucchini and basil. Stir gently.
  • 4. Place an 8-by-10-inch (20-by-25-cm) baking dish in the oven until hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush with the oil, and pour in the zucchini mixture, smoothing the surface. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the last of the Parmesan evenly on top of the strata and then bake until the strata is golden brown and cooked through (a knife inserted in the center should come out clean), 20 to 25 minutes more. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Recipe Testers Reviews

This zucchini strata was delicious! It was extremely easy to assemble and it came together quite fast. My bread soaked up the milk and cream in 10 minutes so I didn't wait the full 30 minutes as instructed in the recipe. All other instructions were perfect, so follow it exactly and you can't fail.

I made this a second time and used sourdough instead of ciabatta and half-and-half in place of heavy cream and it was equally delicious! My one recommendation, don't bother removing the crusts from the bread. It's unnecessary, the bread soaks up the milk and egg mixture just the same, and the crust add a nice variance in texture.

I would describe this more as a strata than frittata (I'm Italian and frittata never contain bread or that much milk. That being said, this made a lovely vegetarian dinner but could also be served for brunch.

I baked mine in a square stone baker—9 1/2 by 9 1/2 inches—and it was the perfect size.

This zucchini strata recipe came together quite easily and was very light and fluffy. The flavor was very good, even my husband liked it, and he’s not a zucchini fan. The zucchini was not overpowering.

I used a standard 7-by-11-inch baking dish as I did not have an 8-by-10-inch dish and it worked out fine.

The flavor combinations of the zucchini with basil Parmesan, and garlic was both mild and exciting. Each bite both comforted and excited the palate.

Although the flavors were good, my mouth could not get past the texture of the custardy, soggy bread. For those who don’t mind that texture, this zucchini strata is great!

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Comments

  1. This strata is delicious! It seemed like a lot of cumin, but it really wasn’t overpowering. All the flavors worked very well together. I didn’t take the crusts off the ciabatta rolls I used and it was fine. I liked the contrast from having them there. I’d definitely make this one again.

  2. Sounds and looks wonderful!
    Would absolutely love to make this but wondering if you had suggestions to make without using whole milk or heavy cream ? I love both but sadly I’m lactose intolerant .. How about substituting almond milk instead ? Any thoughts would be much appreciated ! !

    1. Hi Esther, have you thought about using lactose free milk and cream? You would still get a luscious strata without any side effects.

      1. Thank you so much for your reply! I hadn’t thought about using lactose-free milk. For some reason I had trouble with lactose-free yogurt so I have stayed away from using it. I have done so well with almond milk etc so I go there first! But I might just try what you suggest. Thank you again!

  3. I am having a brunch and would like to do somethings ahead of time. Usually with a strata recipe you assemble them ahead of time to sit overnight in the fridge and bake the next day. What do you think about doing that with this recipe? Any thoughts or comments? Thank you.

    1. Suzi, terrific question! You’re right, usually they are refrigerated overnight. This should be fine. Since we haven’t tested this recipe the way you suggested, I can’t say for certain, though, as it isn’t designed to rest, and there’s a slight may turn out just a touch dry as a result of having to soak up all the liquid. But again, it really should be fine, maybe just watch the timing, as it may take a little longer to bake since it’ll be chilled through. Let us know how it goes!

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