Asparagus, Ham and Mushroom Strata

 

Looking for the perfect make-ahead for Easter brunch? You can assemble the strata (which is like an Italian quiche, with cubes of leftover bread in place of the pastry crust) up to two days before brunch and bake it just before serving. Trim the bread's crust for a neat and pretty dish, or leave it intact for a heartier texture.

What you will need

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.)

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