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Recipe

Asparagus, Ham and Mushroom Strata

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Servings: 8

Looking for the perfect make-ahead for Easter brunch? You can assemble the strata (which is like an Italian quiche, with cubes of leftover bread in place of the pastry crust) up to two days before brunch and bake it just before serving. Trim the bread’s crust for a neat and pretty dish, or leave it intact for a heartier texture.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, more for the pan
  • 1 lb asparagus, ends snapped off, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-1/2 oz. oyster mushrooms (or shiitake or white mushrooms), stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, white and green parts separated (1/2 cup green, 2 Tbs. white)
  • 9 large eggs, beaten
  • 2-3/4 cups milk (preferably whole)
  • 1 large loaf (about 1 lb.) rustic white bread (like ciabatta), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced deli ham, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 3 cups grated extra sharp Cheddar (about 8 oz.)

Preparation

  • Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spears start to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and scallion whites and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms soften and cook through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes.
  • Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Whisk the eggs with the milk and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Spread half the bread in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half the egg mixture and then cover with half the ham, cheese, and asparagus mixture, and sprinkle with half the scallion greens. Repeat with the remaining bread, custard, ham, cheese, asparagus mixture, and scallions. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down so the bread is completely submerged in the egg mixture, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days before baking.
  • Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Let the strata sit at room temperature while the oven heats. Bake until the custard sets and the top browns, about 30 minutes. Loosely cover with foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, cut into square pieces, and serve.

Reviews

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Reviews

  • AM117 | 01/01/2014

    Made this for New Year's Day brunch and it was a huge hit. This recipe is a keeper!

  • EnnaW | 04/16/2012

    A strata's a strata's a strata, but in fact this one is a good combination of flavors. I used a pack of dried shitakes which held up well during baking. I guess it depends on how dense the bread you use it, but I probably will cut it down by about 1/4 to 1/3 next time. I like the two-layer structure.

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