This casual side dish is filled with impressive flavors.

By Joy Howard

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Credit: Joy Howard

Recipe Summary test

active:
15 mins
total:
1 hr
Servings:
8
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This recipe combines the flavors of a classic Southern squash casserole with the deliciousness of strata, a baked dish made with a silky egg custard and cubed bread layered with cheese, vegetables, and other ingredients. But rather than using cubed bread, we opted for whole baguette slices and lots more vegetables, which transforms it into a tempting, summery side-especially later in the season when the squash harvest is overflowing. For the perfect bake, cut the squash thick so it doesn't overcook and take the time to let it drain so your end result isn't too soggy. Another essential step: let the bread slices get extra crispy when you toast them. They'll hold up during the final bake and add a pleasantly chewy (rather than mushy) texture to the dish. And even though the casserole should be assembled by alternating layers of vegetables with bread, don't worry too much about creating a perfect pattern. This summer side dish is meant to be unfussy and tasty!

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat the oven to 400°. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Brush both sides of each slice with the butter, then bake until golden in spots and well crisped, about 10 minutes.

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  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining tablespoon butter. Add the squash, zucchini, shallots, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook undisturbed for 4 minutes to let the vegetables brown a bit, then stir and cook, stirring occasionally until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes more (the vegetables should soft but not fully cooked). Transfer the mixture to a colander and let drain 10 minutes.

  • In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the heavy cream, eggs, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. In a small bowl, toss together the cheeses.

  • Cover the bottom of a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet with an even layer of the cooked squash and zucchini. Sprinkle with half the cheese mixture. Shingle the remaining squash, zucchini, and baguette slices on top of the cheese in circles, taking care to place a piece of the bread between every two slices of vegetable. Pour the heavy cream mixture over the casserole, being sure to soak all the bread slices. Top with the remaining cheese.

  • Bake the strata until the center is set and the cheese is golden and bubbly, turning halfway through about 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

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