ham & cheese breakfast strata
Prep Time:20 minutes |
Cook Time:1 hour
Strata is an old-fashioned name…this is really a savory bread pudding that cooks up like a sturdy souffle. It’s a do-aheader, so assemble this the night before then slide it into a cold oven in the morning and go back to bed while it bakes. Which is why this is a great choice on Easter morning or any other holiday when you want to stay under the covers.
butter for greasing dish
1-pound loaf French bread
12 ounces thick-cut baked ham or ham steak, fat trimmed off, cut into cubes
1-1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese
The night before, rub the bottom and sides of a 13x9x2–inch baking dish or oval gratin dish with butter. Cut the bread in half crosswise, then again lengthwise to give you open-faced quarters. Pull out the insides of the bread and tear it into small pieces, getting every last bit of white from the crusts (save the crusts to make breadcrumbs in the food processor for another time).
Spread half the bread in the bottom of the buttered dish. In a food processor, pulse the ham until finely minced (or finely chop by hand). Sprinkle half the ham and half the cheddar over the bread, then repeat with remaining bread, ham, and cheddar. Grind fresh pepper over the top. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together, then whisk in the green onions. Pour over the bread-ham mixture, then with a large rubber spatula, fold ingredients gently until bread is moistened. Spread the mixture evenly in the dish. Cover dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, remove the plastic wrap. Sprinkle the top of the strata with the Asiago or Parmesan cheese, then cover dish tightly with foil. Slide into a cold oven and turn the oven to 350°F. Bake until the strata starts to puff and eggs look set, about 35 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until golden, crusty, and delicious smelling, about 25 minutes more. Serve at once.