Cheese Strata with Ham and Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup diced baked ham
  • 1 cup oven-dried tomatoes, chopped, recipe below
  • 1 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb sourdough bread, crust trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Directions

  1. Butter a 3-quart gratin casserole or dish.
  2. Whisk eggs, milk, cream, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Toss ham, tomatoes, parsley and chives together in a small bowl.
  4. Scatter 1/2 cup of cheese into prepared dish and layer with a third of bread and half of ham mixture.
  5. Repeat.
  6. Top strata with a final layer of bread and remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  7. Pour egg mixture over top of dish and gently press to moisten all bread layers.
  8. Drizzle with melted butter, cover strata with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or as long as overnight.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake strata on middle oven rack uncovered until slightly puffed and golden brown, about 45 minutes.
  10. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Oven-Dried Tomatoes – Ingredients
  • 2 lbs ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut in half, lengthwise
  • kosher salt
  • EVOO
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, oregano or marjoram
Oven-Dried Tomatoes – Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Arrange tomatoes cut side up in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt.
  3. Bake until slightly shriveled but still plump, about 5 hours.
  4. If not using immediately, refrigerate dried tomatoes covered up to 4 days.
  5. Or, if desired, layer tomatoes with her sprigs and add olive oil to cover.
  6. Refrigerate covered for up to 2 weeks.

Courtesy of Food Network 2011 Calendar

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