Ham and Asparagus Strata


1 loaf French bread, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes, 8 cups of bread cubes

1 pound asparagus spears, woody ends removed, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

2 Tbsp butter, softened

2 cups ham, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded

4 eggs

1 1/4 cups cream

1 3/4 cups milk

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400, then spread cubed bread over a sheet pan in a single layer.

Bake until lightly toasted, 8 minutes and remove, set aside, then reduce oven temperature to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, salt, pepper and tarragon, then set aside.

Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil.

Add the cut asparagus to the boiling water.

Return to a boil and blanch the asparagus for 3 minutes.

Drain asparagus then place into a bowl of ice water and let rest 1 minute, then drain and set aside.

Butter a 8" x 11" x 2 1⁄4" casserole dish.

Spread half of the bread cubes over the bottom of the dish.

Sprinkle half of the ham cubes over the bread, then sprinkle half of the asparagus over the ham.

Add half of the cheese, then pour half of the milk egg mixture over everything.

Add another layer of cubed bread, ham, asparagus, cheese and milk egg mixture.

Press down on the mixture to help bread soak up milk mixture.

Cover with aluminum foil and place in the 350°F oven for 40 minutes. Remove the foil.

Bake uncovered for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, until the egg mixture is set.

Test by inserting a sharp knife into the center of the casserole.

If the inside is still runny, it's not cooked through yet and needs more time in the oven.

If the top starts to get too browned, you can cover again with aluminum foil.

Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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