Cheese Strata with Ham and Tomatoes

Total Time:
1 hr 25 min
30 min
55 min

6 to 8 servings

  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced baked ham
  • 1 cup Oven-Dried Tomatoes, chopped, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 pound sourdough bread (boule preferred), crust removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Oven-Dried Tomatoes
  • 2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Fresh herb sprigs, like thyme, rosemary, or sage (optional)
  • Grease a 3-quart gratin dish or casserole with 1 teaspoon of the butter.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Set aside. In a small bowl, toss together the ham, tomatoes, parsley, and chives.

  • To make the strata: Scatter a 1/2 cup of the cheese over the bottom of the buttered dish, cover with one-third of the bread, and then half of the tomato mixture. Repeat. Top with a final layer of bread and remaining cheese.

  • Pour the egg mixture over the strata and gently press it down with the back of a large spoon to make sure the top layer is moistened with the custard. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and drizzle it over the strata. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the strata, uncovered, until golden brown and slightly puffed, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Arrange the tomatoes cut side-up in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the salt. Dry in oven until slightly shriveled but still plump, about 5 to 6 hours.

  • If not using immediately, store the tomatoes in a sealed container in the refrigerator, for 3 to 4 days. Alternatively, layer them in a container with the herbs, cover with olive oil, and store, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks.

  • Yield: about 2 cups

  • Copyright 2001 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved

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