It was a Saturday morning and the stale bread sitting on top of my refrigerator was calling to me. It wasn’t saying, “French toast.” It wasn’t saying, “Toad-in-the-hole.” It was whispering, like the voice in “Field of Dreams,” “Something savory…something different…something new.”
I grabbed a can of chipotles in Adobo. I grabbed six eggs out of the refrigerator. I cracked the eggs into a bowl, chopped 3 or 4 chipotles really fine and whisked them into the eggs…
…and then I cut the crust off the remaining bread and cut that stale bread into cubes. I dunked the cubes into the chipotle egg mixture and let it sit.
If I’d had an onion, I would’ve caramelized it in butter before proceeding. I didn’t have an onion. I just had what you see above.
There’s a world where I could’ve baked that mixture like a strata. That’s why strata is in the title of this post. If I was going to do that, I might’ve added cheese of some kind. In fact, if I’d had cheese I would’ve used it either way.
But I didn’t have cheese. So I decided to cook this mixture the way you’d cook a matzo brei… which I’ve never made, but I understand the concept. You soak matzah in egg and fry it in butter. That’s what I decided to do here: fry this stuff in butter.
I melted 2 tablespoons in a non-stick skillet, got it super hot (almost browning the butter) and then added my egg/bread mixture.
Normally, you want to scramble eggs gently… but the idea here is to fry the bread and get it golden. Because it soaked in that egg mixture for 20 minutes or so, the insides of the bread would stay moist even as the outsides got color. Which is precisely what happened when I served it up with pickled red onions.
Reader, I’ll confess: we were a little hungover. And reader, I’ll also confess: this was the perfect cure. Fried bread with eggs, chipotles and pickled red onions… haphazardly named “Chipotle Strata Brei,” an original recipe from yours truly for all of your future hangover needs.