I was perusing my BHG cookbook for dinner ideas, and I suddenly remembered that Andrew and I both love breakfast for dinner. In fact, we have been known to parrot my dad's frequent comment whenever my mom made breakfast in the evenings: " I LOOOOOOOOOVE breakfast for dinner!" Anyway, I looked through the "eggs" section of the cookbook, and on the last page, I saw this "strata" thing. What in the heck is a strata? Well, according to Wikipedia, it's a layered casserole dish most commonly made with eggs, bread, and cheese. YUM! Plus, the prep time is only 25 minutes (perfect) and you actually MUST make it ahead of time (at least 2 hours if not an entire day ahead). So, I gave it a whirl, and this is now one of our favorite dishes. The first couple of times I made this strata, it turned out a teensy bit watery, so I modified the recipe a bit.
Prep: 25 minutes
Chill: 2 to 24 hours
Bake: 50 minutes
Oven: 325 degrees
4 whole-wheat English muffins, torn/cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup (6 oz) cubed fully-cooked ham
1 cup (5-6 oz) asparagus cut into bite-sized pieces
6 oz swiss cheese (either grated or sliced & torn into small pieces)
4 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion (or 1 tsp dried minced onion)
1 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard ("Pardon me sir....")
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
1/8 tsp pepper
1) In a greased 2-quart square casserole dish, create a layer of half of the English muffin pieces. Top with layers of the ham, asparagus, swiss cheese, and then spread the remaining English muffin pieces on the very top.
2) In a bowl, mix the eggs, milk, sour cream, onion, mustard, caraway seeds, and pepper. Pour evenly over top of the layers in the casserole dish.
3) Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but no longer than 24 hours.
3) Uncover the dish and bake for 50-55 minutes in a 325 degree oven or till a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. If you have reached an hour and the knife still doesn't come out clean, go ahead and take the dish out-- you're just stuck with slightly watery strata. It's still really yummy! Let is stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
This theoretically makes 6 servings, but it's pretty heavy and a little goes a long way, so for once, this "yield" is pretty accurate, no matter how hungry you are! Leftover strata keeps really well in the fridge and is great either cold or re-heated.
Oh, by the way, the first time I made this, I somehow missed the part about the asparagus being cut up. I baked it with a layer of long asparagus spears. Not that it affected the taste in any way, but it was a bit hard to serve. WHOOPS!
Here's a picture of the strata I made two weekends ago for my in-laws, who were visiting from the Dallas-Fort Worth area:
The chef and her strata! (picture taken by my father-in-law)
On a related note, can someone else please tell me that they, too, didn't realize that ham came from a pig until way later than most people figure it out? I mean, ham bears no resemblance to and tastes nothing like pork in any way (I guess it's because of the curing process).... Boy, between Niki's recent admittance of her "yield" confusion and my late epiphany about ham being from pigs (it happened in college, I think), you'd think the Evans twins should be barred from the kitchen for the greater good....