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24-Hour Omelet

The 24-Hour Omelet. 

Despite its name, this "omelet" is nothing like the filling-stuffed egg dish you expect at brunch, nor does it take a day to bake. This cheesy, puffed casserole is all about the eggs, consisting of a rich custard, bread and cheese and yielding a melt-in-your-mouth texture that rivals even the fluffiest scrambled eggs.

The eggs should be this dish's focus, not the bread, so to keep their flavor at the fore, we prepared a milk-based custard. Buttered white bread cut into bite-size pieces and layered with tangy cheddar cheese in a baking dish promises to melt right into the custard while also bringing in plenty of richness.

A small amount of grated onion and a bit of dry mustard and hot sauce adds just enough complexity to the creamy eggs. Refrigerating the assembled omelet overnight melds the flavors and saturated the bread, so all we have to do before brunch is bake it.

Cheesy and golden, this humble casserole puffed impressively above the rim of the baking dish, making it a tempting but unfussy centerpiece. Use the large holes of a box grater to grate the onion.

The omelet needs to sit in the refrigerator, well covered, for at least 8 hours in order to achieve the desired consistency.

24-HOUR OMELET

Servings: 6-8

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

10 slices hearty, white sandwich bread

3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (12 ounces)

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8 large eggs

3 cups whole milk

1 small onion, grated

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Grease 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Spread butter evenly over 1 side of bread slices, then cut into 1 inch pieces. Scatter half of bread evenly in prepared dish and sprinkle with half of cheddar. Repeat with remaining bread and cheese.

Whisk eggs, milk, onion, salt, pepper, mustard and hot sauce together in bowl until well combined. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread and press lightly on bread to submerge. Wrap dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350. Unwrap casserole and bake until puffed and golden, about 1 hour. Serve immediately. 

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