asparagus, ham & mushroom strata


A strata is like an Italian quiche, but instead of an involved pastry crust, leftover bread forms the egg custard base. As with a bread pudding, assemble

this dish ahead of time and bake it just before serving. It’s up to you whether

or not to trim the bread crust. When entertaining, trim it for a neat and pretty

dish or leave it intact for a heartier texture.


Serves 8

2 Tbs. unsalted butter, more

for the pan

1 lb. asparagus, ends snapped

off, cut into 11/2-inch pieces

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black

pepper

31/2 oz. fresh 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

23/4 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.)



1. Meltthe butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add

the asparagus, sprinkle with1/2tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring

occasionally, untilthe spears startto 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.

2. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Whisk the eggs with the milk and the remaining1/2tsp. each salt and pepper. Spread halfthe bread in a single layer on the

bottom ofthe baking dish. Top with halfthe egg mixture and then cover with

halfthe ham, cheese, and asparagus mixture, and sprinkle with halfthe scallion greens. Repeat with the remaining egg mixture, 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 atleast 4 hours

and up to 2 days before baking.

3. Position a rack in the center ofthe oven and heatthe oven to 350°F. Letthe

strata sit atroom temperature while the oven heats. Bake untilthe custard

sets and the top browns, about 30 minutes. Loosely cover with foil and bake

for another 20 minutes. Let cool for10 minutes, cutinto square pieces,

and serve