Springtime Brunch: Three Cheese Strata
with Asparagus & Smoked Turkey
Makes 6 to 8 servings
3/4 lb/340 g asparagus
8 cups/2 L 1-inch cubes sourdough or other dense bread
2 cups/500 mL milk
1/4 cup/50 mL olive oil
3/4 lb/340 g Smoked Turkey (or Ham)
1 red pepper
1 tbsp/30 mL chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp/30 mL chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp/ fennel seed
5 large eggs
1-1/2 cups/375 mL table cream (18% cream)
1/2 tsp/2 mL black pepper
1/2 tsp/2 mL ground nutmeg
6 oz/170 g soft goat cheese, crumbled (about 1-1/2 cups/375 mL)
1 generous cup/250 mL grated Fontina or Swiss cheese
2 tbsp/30 mL grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350F/176 C. Brush oil on the bottom and sides of a 3 L (13x9-inch) glass baking dish.
Rinse asparagus well and break stalks at woody part; discard lower portion.
Place asparagus in asparagus steamer with 2-inches/5 cm boiling water and cook over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
Drain and immediately cool under cold water; drain again and cut into bite-size pieces.
Place bread cubes in large bowl. Whisk together milk and olive oil; pour over bread cubes.
Let stand about 10 minutes and liquid is absorbed.
Cut ham or turkey into 1/2-inch/1.25 cm pieces.
Core and seed red pepper; coarsely chop. Combine herbs in small bowl.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, garlic, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in crumbled goat cheese.
Cover bottom of greased pan with half the bread mixture.
Top with half the asparagus, turkey or ham, red pepper, herbs and Fontina cheese.
Pour half the cream mixture over.
Repeat layering with remaining bread, asparagus, turkey or ham, red pepper, herbs and cheese.
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
Place Strata in preheated oven and bake uncovered about 1 hour and firm in centre with brown edges.