Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Don't Trash the Leftover Bread from Thanksgiving, Brunch It!

Everyone loves a savory bread pudding that's perfect for a Holiday brunch.  Abbie Dodge, who wrote the new cookbook, The Everyday Baker, told Tonia's Kitchen, that she loves to use leftovers from that big holiday dinner, and create something new!  Abbie told Tonia about her Spicy Asparagus Ham Strada.  She uses several vegetables like mushrooms, asparagus, bell pepper and yellow bell pepper.  She combines that with a "custard" that calls for whole eggs, mustard and Worcestershire Sauce. It's a great way to make a delicious brunch treat, and ring in the Holidays!

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, more for the pan
  • 1 lb asparagus, ends snapped off, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-1/2 oz. oyster mushrooms (or shiitake or white mushrooms), stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, white and green parts separated (1/2 cup green, 2 Tbs. white)
  • 9 large eggs, beaten
  • 2-3/4 cups milk (preferably whole)
  • 1 large loaf (about 1 lb.) rustic white bread (like ciabatta), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced deli ham, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 3 cups grated extra sharp Cheddar (about 8 oz.)
Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spears start to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and scallion whites and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms soften and cook through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes.
Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Whisk the eggs with the milk and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Spread half the bread in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half the egg mixture and then cover with half the ham, cheese, and asparagus mixture, and sprinkle with half the scallion greens. Repeat with the remaining bread, custard, ham, cheese, asparagus mixture, and scallions. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down so the bread is completely submerged in the egg mixture, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days before baking.
Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Let the strata sit at room temperature while the oven heats. Bake until the custard sets and the top browns, about 30 minutes. Loosely cover with foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, cut into square pieces, and serve.