This egg and cheese strata, made with eggs, Fontina, asparagus, and prosciutto, can be put together ahead of time or last minute. A great breakfast or simple dinner.
This is not your mom’s overnight breakfast sausage. No Jimmy Dean’s sausage. No lurid packaged shreds of processed cheese. No tube of crescent rolls on the side. Just simple ingredients and the uncomplicated but undeniable loveliness that results. Originally published March 26, 2012.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How To Make This Dish More Practical And Just A Little Less Pretty
In making this strata look elegant, the lovely and talented Sarah Copeland, author of this recipe, chose to leave her asparagus spears long. While this does indeed make for a pretty presentation, it also creates something of a not-so-practical eating experience as you attempt to politely cut through an asparagus spear that’s irrevocably intertwined with strands of melted cheese using nothing but a fork. Usually not something we’d like to inflict on our loved ones. While we leave this decision to your discretion. But we’re thinking that slicing the spears into 1 1/2-inch lengths isn’t such a terrible sacrifice.
Egg and Cheese Strata
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 1 H
- Serves 2 to 4
- Butter for the baking dish
- 4 thick slices artisan bread (4 1/2 oz), preferably hearty whole grain or multigrain
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 ounces (about 1 cup) grated Fontina cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 to 8 asparagus stalks
- 4 thin slices prosciutto or mortadella, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 tablespoon finely snipped chives (optional)
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (176˚C). Butter a smallish, 4-cup ovenproof baking dish.
- 2. Trim the crusts from the bread and toss them to the birds or in the compost. Place the slices of bread in the baking dish, overlapping the slices slightly and, if necessary, allowing the edges to hang over the side of the dish just a little.
- 3. Whisk together the eggs and milk. Stir in half of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour 3/4 of the egg mixture over the bread and set the rest of the egg mixture aside.
- 4. Break off the stem ends of the asparagus where each one snaps naturally. Cut the spears into 1 1/2-inch lengths.
- 5. Layer the prosciutto or mortadella, if using, on the bread. Place the asparagus spears on top and pour the remaining egg mixture over the asparagus. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. At this point, if you have the time, we strongly encourage you to cover the strata with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight to allow the bread to soak up the egg mixture and so the flavors can meld.
- 6. Bake the strata until set, 30 to 35 minutes. (If you refrigerated the strata overnight and are baking it straight from the fridge, you may need to allow a few extra minutes baking time.) Let the strata cool slightly. Grind a little pepper over the top, if you please, and sprinkle with chives, if using. Plonk the baking dish on the table and scoop the strata straight from it onto plates.
How To Double This Strata For A Crowd
- You can easily double this recipe for a crowd and bake it instead in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish for 1 hour. Then watch it disappear.