Sunday, March 21, 2010
Easter Monday Ham and Cheese Bake
Joshua and I put this strata together last night before going to bed. This morning, we just had to add the topping and bake it. It was delicious! The panko topping really adds a great contrast. This would also be good served with a salad for lunch or dinner.
6 slices (8 ounces) slightly stale bread or 3 or 4 soft rolls, crusts removed if hard; about 6 1/2 cups cubed bread
1 3/4 cups (8 ounces) diced cooked ham
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheese: cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, or your favorite combination
5 large eggs
2 cups (16 ounces) milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon prepared mustard OR 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 cup Vermont cheese powder, optional (recommended if using a mild cheese such as Monterey Jack or Swiss--not necessary if you use sharp cheddar)
1 cup Panko bread crumbs, or coarse, dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1) Lightly grease a small (7- to 8-cup) casserole dish, for nicest presentation; or a 9" x 9" square cake pan.
2) Cut the bread into small (1/2" to 3/4" cubes). Place half the cubes into the prepared baking dish.
3) Layer the ham over the bread; sprinkle the cheese over the ham.
4) Top with the remaining bread.
5) In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, mustard, and cheese powder, if you're using it. Pour over the bread and ham in the dish, pushing the bread down into the milk.
6) Cover the dish, and refrigerate overnight.
7) Next day, preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator.
8) Combine the bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly atop the casserole.
9) Bake the casserole for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or paring knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
10) Remove the casserole from the oven. Serve hot or warm. Fruit salad is a tasty accompaniment.
Yield: 6 to 9 servings.