Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ham & Asparagus Strata


I have several strata recipes dog-eared in various cooking mags. But, have never gotten around to making one. On Christmas, my stepmother served two different kinds for brunch & they were delicious! So, now, I am finally making one.
A strata is an Italian quiche. It doesn't have a crust, but instead the bread is cubed up in the casserole. I like it even more than quiche, because it is much lighter. As far as fillings, you can get creative with that. I left my fairly basic, as I wanted the Bozos to eat it.

Begin by washing & slicing 1 pound of asparagus into 1 1/2" pieces. Next, thinly slice 8 scallions. Keep the white & green parts separated.

Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus & cook until beginning to soften {about 3 minutes}. Add the scallion whites & cook for an additional minute. Remove from the heat & let it cool slightly.

Meanwhile, prep the other ingredients.
You will need 1 pound of rustic bread {such as ciabatta}, cut into 1" cubes, 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese {grated},

and a 1/2 pound of thinly sliced deli ham {cut into 1" strips},

Next, whisk 9 large eggs, 2 3/4 cups milk, and a 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt & pepper together. Butter a 9" x 13" baking dish & add in half the cubed bread.

Pour half of the egg mixture over it. Cover with half the ham, cheese & asparagus. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle the scallion greens over the top & cover with plastic wrap. Press down so that the bread is submerged in the egg. Chill for at least 4 hours, or up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the strata for 45 minutes, or until the egg is set & the top is browned. Cover loosely with foil & bake an additional 30 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Ham & Asparagus Strata

Adapted from Fine Cooking: Big buy Issue No. 30
Serves 8

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
6 scallions, thinly sliced, white & green parts separated
9 large eggs, beaten
2 3/4 cups milk
1 pound rustic bread, cut in 1" cubes
8 ounces thinly sliced deli ham, cut into 1" strips
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus & cook, stirring occasionally, until the they begin to soften {about 3 minutes}. Add in the scallion whites & cook for an additional minute. Remove the pan from the heat & let cool for a few minutes.
Butter a 9"x 13" baking dish. Whisk the eggs with the milk & a 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & pepper. Spread half the bread in the baking dish & pour half of the egg mixture on top. Then cover with half the ham, cheese & asparagus. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle the scallion greens on top. Cover the dish with plastic wrap & press down so that the bread is submerged in the egg. Chill for at least 4 hours, or up to 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Let the strata sit at room temperature while the oven heats. Bake until the egg is set & the top is browned {about 45 minutes}. Loosely cover with foil & bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let the strata cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Click here for the printable recipe.

4 comments:

Jeanette said...

Yum! I gotta stop looking at food blogs this late at night!

alison said...

I made this with turkey instead of ham as a new years day dinner (for two!) like we would have been up for brunch... anyhow - it turned out so deliciously and we are still eating it for dinner tonight!

such a beautiful and tasty blog!

Angela said...

That is a lovely casserole dish - where did you get it?

DailyNightly said...

I made this today, using Italian 4 cheese blend with a little cheddar blend thrown in and an olive oil ciabata loaf for the bread. It is awesome! I will be making this again. Thanks for the recipe!

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