Tomato and Goat Cheese Strata
8 -approximately 1 inch slices of rustic bread or sourdough, day old is fine
5 tablespoons butter
2 large beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes
5 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup roughly chopped thyme and basil, or other herbs of your choice
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning the tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 oz grated parmesan
If the bread isn't day old and fairly dried out, toast it in a toaster until just crispy and lightly toasted. Lightly butter one side of each slice.
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch-1/2 inch slices, discarding the core and stem.
Use the remaining butter, grease a high-sided round soufflé dish or round casserole dish such as Corningware.
Cut the bread slices in half and arrange 4 or 5 halves on the bottom of the dish. It's ok if there are small gaps, but you can slice some of the bread to fill in any large ones. Using the slices from one tomato, cover the bread with the tomato slices. Lightly sprinkle the tomato slices with salt and then crumble half of the goat cheese over the tomatoes. Sprinkle 1/3 of the herb mix on top of the goat cheese. Arrange another layer of bread on top of those tomatoes, then repeat the layering process with the tomatoes, salt, goat cheese and herbs. For the top layer place the last bread slices, butter side up, to cover the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs.
In a large measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, heavy cream, 2 teaspoons of salt and black pepper until well combined.
Slowly pour the egg mixture into the dish with the bread and tomatoes, pausing to press down the bread as you go. You want everything moist, but not completely soggy. When you start to see the egg mixture reach the top layer of bread, stop and press down. Discard any remaining egg mixture.
Cover and refrigerate from up to 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat your oven to bake at 350 F.
Sprinkle the parmesan over the top of the bread and bake for 1 hour or until puffed up and golden brown on top. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving warm with a green salad.