Ham, Swiss, and Kale Strata

My husband has been on a major Strata kick, ever since shooting a version of it for my upcoming corn cookbook.

Every Saturday morning I make one for him, and then he has breakfasts – and some lunches – all week. You would think he’d get sick of having it, but nope – well into this week’s strata (Thursday!) he called me up from work just to tell me that that strata is amazing, and that he loves me for it!

This is after 3 weeks of stratas, mind you.

So, here’s the recipe that inspired such devotion to breakfast. Make it as-is if you’d like, but it’s definitely open to tinkering and interpretation. Stratas are easy to adapt, and a great way to use up whatever odds and ends you may have in your fridge. Swap out the kale for spinach, or for a cup or so of your favorite veggie. Use your favorite cheese, add your favorite herbs and spices if you’d like.

I like to use crusty, day old baguette to make the strata, but it can also work with your favorite sour dough, French, Italian, or random artisan type breads – just leave them out to dry out a bit overnight, and cut into 1″ cubes. You’ll want about 8 cups of bread cubes, whatever type you use.

Enjoy!

Ham, Swiss, and Kale Strata with Caraway

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 – 2 lbs cured or smoked ham, cut into bite sized pieces
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
9 large eggs
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 2/3 cups milk
Cooking spray or butter
1 baguette, cut into 1″ cubes
2 Tbsp caraway seeds
2 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese

In a large frying pan, saute onion in olive oil until tender. Add ham and kale, sautee until kale is wilted but not yet crispy. Remove from heat, season with a little of of the salt and pepper.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and mustard. Add milk and remaining salt/pepper, continue whisking until well combined.

Using cooking spray or butter, grease a 9’x 13″ baking/cake pan. Arrange half of the bread cubes evenly in the pan, sprinkle with almost half of the caraway seeds. Top with half of the kale mixture, then half of the cheese. Repeat layering one more time, ending with cheese on top. Sprinkle with remaining/extra caraway seeds. Pour egg mixture evenly over everything, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill for 2-4 hours.

About an hour and a half before serving:

Remove strata from fridge, preheat oven to 350F. I like to let the strata sit on the counter for 20 minutes or so, to take the chill off it.

Remove plastic wrap from strata, bake for 45-50 minutes. Strata is ready when it is cooked through and golden brown on top.

Serve hot!

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