Strata with Ham, Gruyere, Asparagus, and Dijon

March 8, 2012 § 3 Comments

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Eggs. They’re affordable, loaded with protein and valuable nutrients, and have a long shelf-life. In addition to being high-nutrition for low-cost, it is possible to buy cruelty-free eggs. Look for “free-range organic” on the label; if you can purchase eggs straight from the farm and see “happy chickens,” that would be the best way to go.
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Recently I partook in a fun food-blogger challenge called Kitchen Bootcamp, for which I invented my Inside Out Egg Sandwich. Jen, the woman who hosted the challenge and writes My Kitchen Addiction, made a Ham and Asparagus Strata for the challenge. It looked so good, I had to try it, making a few Crafty tweaks here and there. I didn’t stray far from her recipe though.  This strata (or casserole if you prefer) is hearty, covers all basic food groups in one dish, and keeps well in the fridge.  The three of us ate off of this one dish for about a week, sometimes breakfast, sometimes lunch, and sometimes dinner.
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As mentioned, I use organic, free-range eggs.  I also only buy nitrate-free ham (and other meats) from ethical companies, organic milk from pasture cows, and organic bread and vegetables.  If you’re really interested in learning more on why you should consider cruelty-free, environmentally friendly animal products, I highly recommend you read nearly anything by Peter Singer.  Although the truth is that might persuade you to consider becoming vegan.
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RECIPE:
Strata with Ham, Gruyere, Asparagus, and Dijon
adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

8 egg whites
5 eggs
1/2 cup milk, any type
2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
8 slices whole wheat sandwich bread, cubed
7 ounces cooked ham, cut into chunks
1 1/2 pound asparagus spears, washed and very lightly steamed, trimmed to fit casserole dish
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (approximately 1 heaping cup full)
pinch sea salt
pinch black pepper
pinch garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 9″ x 13″ baking dish (I use my favorite 3 qt. Pyrex casserole for this).

Combine egg whites, eggs, milk, dijon, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl. Whisk until well blended.

Spread bread evenly on bottom of casserole. Layer ham evenly on top of bread. Slowly, evenly pour egg mixture on top of bread and ham, being careful to evenly distribute egg mixture. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.

Next, layer asparagus on top. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.

Bake for about one hour, or until egg is fully cooked and top is golden brown. Run butter knife around edges to prevent strata from sticking to casserole dish. Cool for 30 minutes.

Serve warm with Dijon mustard as condiment. Can be stored in fridge and re-heated for up to five days.

Happy nibbling,
Sarah

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