Adding leftover, stale bread to various dishes is an old Mediterranean tradition dictated by the frugal ways of our ancestors. Strata is a kind of savory bread pudding, a frittata with vegetables or greens that are ingeniously complemented by toasted stale bread cubes.
Soups, salads, and frittata get even better with crunchy, toasted bread cubes. We especially love the flavor and slight crunch the croutons from heavy, unshifted flour bread adds to any vegetable in the frittata.
I slice and cube the leftovers of the mixed-grain, heavy, old-fashioned, wood-fired loaves that we get each week from our village bakery, toss with olive oil and roast in the oven, until completely dry. When cool I keep in jars.
It is wonderful added in any bean or vegetable soup, while on the islands of the Cyclades twice-baked bread often adorned the simple fish soups.
In our winter frittatas I often make with our neighbor’s incredible eggs, these delicious mixed-grain croutons complement beautifully the roasted squash omelet/strata that I make.
No recipe needed: for each 3 cups of roasted squash, or any combination of sautéed vegetables, I usually add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of croutons.
I arrange them on a well-oiled skillet that goes to the oven and holds them in one, snuggly layer.
I then mix 4-6 eggs, depending on their size, with 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, instead of milk. The tanginess of the yogurt complements the bread and vegetables beautifully. Briefly mix, adding salt and Aleppo pepper flakes and pour it over the vegetables. If I have nice parsley leaves from the garden, I roughly chop them and add to the mix.
I start by frying on the stove, in medium-high, and when it starts to vividly sizzle and brown at the bottom I transfer to the upper part of the oven, heat the broiler, and finish cooking until lightly crisped and golden on the top, about 2-3 minutes
I do not add cheese in the frittata but serve diced feta or goat’s cheese on the side.
Accompanied by a simple salad it is a wonderful lunch or dinner, while any leftovers reheated in a low oven is equally, if not more delicious the nest day…