Hi all! It’s Lisa Appleton, Associate Editor with special interest media here again. It’s finally spring! I couldn’t be happier, but you should know a few things about me before I go any further. 1) I LOVE breakfast foods. I will make breakfast food any time of the day, but I always go out of my way to make something fun on Sunday mornings. 2) Asparagus is my favorite vegetable. Every spring when it’s back in season, I just can’t get enough. I will always go out of my way to find new ways to use asparagus.
It’s a wonder it even took me this long into the season to combine the two, but last Sunday I did just that. I had some asparagus on hand and some asiago garlic French bread I didn’t end up using for another recipe last week. I immediately thought of our Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata. In case you don’t know, strata is a layered breakfast casserole that typically has day-old bread, eggs, and cheese with any meat or vegetables of your choosing. It turns out like a savory bread pudding.
I went straight to bhg.com and found this recipe for Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata. I had a three-cheese blend of shredded cheese, so I used that instead of the Gruyere it suggests. The only other element I was missing was ham. I had Canadian bacon and didn’t want to run to the store, so I substituted that too.
Not only was it delicious, it was also super easy to make. Asparagus is pretty simple to cook with. Just remember to snap off and discard the woody base of the spears by bending them. The spears can be cooked whole, but this recipe required chopping into 2-inch pieces. After you’ve chopped the rest your ingredients, blanch the asparagus for just a few minutes, and layer everything in a greased baking dish. Blanching is a cooking technique. Vegetables are cooked in boiling water for just a few minutes and immediately cooled in an ice bath to stop the cooking. It brings out the bright green color in asparagus. Whisk up some eggs and milk to pour over the dish, and you’re nearly finished.
This might be the best part. Strata is at its best when it’s chilled overnight. You don’t have to bother making this in the morning before a fun brunch with your friends or family. Prepare it up to this point and chill it overnight. In the morning, baking is easy. After 30 minutes, take it out of the oven to quickly add the six eggs to the top and then it’s right back in until it’s finished. This would make a great dish for Mother’s Day! You’ll spend more time with your Mom and less time in the kitchen on her special day.
In my mind, there is no better vegetable in spring than asparagus. This was perfect for a lazy Sunday breakfast, and it’s already on my list to make again.
Get the recipe for Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata.