I made a new breakfast casserole this past Sunday, a Charleston Breakfast Casserole to be more specific. I have to be honest here and tell you that I’ve never even heard of a Charleston Breakfast Casserole before. I’ve got family in North Carolina so I’ve been there several times, but I’ve never stepped foot in South Carolina. If I ever do make my way to South Carolina I’m going to seek out a small diner and order this.
When I first read the recipe for the Charleston Breakfast Casserole I thought it sounded similar to other breakfast casseroles I’ve made, like my Egg and Sausage Souffle. But there were some differences. Instead of using bread crumbs the Charleston Breakfast Casserole has a base made of crouton drizzled with melted butter. They are the croutons we sprinkle on salads. I had to re-read that several times, worried that I was going to use the wrong ingredient. This casserole is also made with eggs, cheddar cheese, red pepper, and of course it has bacon on top.
This Charleston Breakfast Casserole was really delicious and I’ll definitely be making it again. The croutons inside the casserole gave it a texture unique compared to any other breakfast casserole that I’ve made. The bacon and red pepper were delicious with the eggs and cheddar cheese. I put this together right before I put it in the oven, but I think it could be prepared the night before too. I like making overnight casseroles, when all I have to do in the morning is stick it in the oven.
I started this casserole by cooking my bacon. If you’ve been following my blog you probably already know that I cook bacon in the oven. It’s not as messy, not as greasy and the bacon looks better. So anyway my bacon was cooked and set aside.
I melted some butter, then drizzled it over three cups of croutons that were in a greased 9 X 13 inch pan. The next thing I did was sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese on top of the croutons. In a small bowl I whisked together six large eggs with salt, pepper, milk, mustard, and diced red pepper. Once those ingredients were combined I evenly poured the mixture over the croutons and cheese. Finally I cut the bacon into small pieces and laid it on top. I baked the casserole uncovered for forty minutes until the top was lightly browned in spots.
The Flavor Bible is a book I have in my kitchen that I reference all the time. Here is how the book works; there’s a listing of just about any ingredient that you could possibly cook with along with what other foods and spices would taste good with that particular food. Now say for instance you’ve got this ingredient that you’ve never tasted before. Well this book will tell you the flavor, if it’s sweet, salty or bitter. If it’s a fruit or vegetable you can find out the seasonal peaks. Then it will list all the other ingredients and spices that taste really good with this ingredient and also ingredients to avoid. There are even techniques on how to cook the ingredient.
This book has really allowed me to get creative in the kitchen and play with different flavors and spices. If I’ve got a bunch of apples, but I want to do more than just eat them, I can look up apples and see they pair very well with cinnamon, cream and ice cream, allspice, nutmeg, raisins, butter, and both white and brown sugar. That sounds really good. Now I can also see that apples can be baked, caramelized, deep fried, or grilled. Now I’ve really got some ideas for the apples.
But maybe I wanted to make something savory with the apples, maybe for a nice dinner. I can see that apples go together with beef, chicken, duck, pork, onions, along with spices like basil, cumin and parsley. There are a lot of options, way more than I listed here. Under apples I counted a little over one-hundred ingredients.
I think this book is a must have in your kitchen and I highly recommend it.
Adapted from Scott M, via allrecipes.com