An Easy Strata for Brunch

easy strata recipe

When it comes to brunch, I’m all about the make-ahead…

Actually, when it comes to any kind of entertaining, I’m all about the make-ahead, in order to be fully present with my guests, and not in that state of half-hanging/half-fretting about whatever is simmering away on the stovetop. I think that’s why brunch is such a popular way to host friends — because pretty much everything people hope to see on the table (bagels, fruit, baked goods, juices, sandwiches, something eggy) can be either made in advance or store-bought.

easy strata recipe

If you’re stuck on the phrase “something eggy,” allow me to remind you of the world’s best make-ahead breakfast main: the Strata. Similar to bread pudding, it’s custardy and crunchy in all the right places, and can be endlessly customized (sausage? no sausage?) for whomever is coming over. Best of all, and here is the point, you can assemble the entire dish the day before, and let it sit overnight in the fridge. Then all you have to do the next day is place it in the oven. Well, that and present it with the right amount of drama right in the center of the table.

The one below, a vegetarian take that maximizes spring, should do the trick. It’s your move this spring for Mother’s Day or a graduation lunch or any brunch all year long.

easy strata recipe

easy strata recipe

Herby Asparagus and Leek Strata
Serves 6 to 8

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish
8 cups cubed crusty bread (such as a baguette or boule), cut into 1-inch cubes
12 ounces asparagus, trimmed
2 cups finely chopped leeks (from about 2 medium leeks)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces fresh spinach, chopped into bite-size pieces
6 ounces grated Gruyère (2 cups)
9 large eggs
2 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon ground mustard
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2-3 tablespoons spring herbs (parsley, chives, dill)

Grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter. Place the bread cubes in the dish in one layer.

Bring salted water to a boil in a large straight-sided skillet, and simmer the asparagus for 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus to a cutting board with tongs (or drain in a colander) and chop the asparagus into bite-size pieces. Distribute the asparagus over the bread in the baking dish. Return the (dry) skillet to the stovetop set over medium heat.

Melt the butter in the skillet then add the leeks, salt, and pepper. Cook until soft and slightly golden, about 6 minutes, then add the spinach and cook until it wilts, about 2 more minutes. Place this vegetable mixture on top of the bread and asparagus in the baking dish, then sprinkle Gruyère over everything.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, Parm, ground mustard, nutmeg, herbs, salt and pepper, then pour the mixture over the cheese, making sure that the liquid is distributed evenly.

Refrigerate the dish for 1 hour or overnight. Take the dish out of the fridge and let it sit for 15 minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the casserole uncovered for 45-50 minutes. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

easy strata recipe

P.S. Overnight baked French toast and how to host a chaotic brunch.

Source – Cup of joy