Growing up, we had a breakfast strata every Christmas morning for brunch after opening our gifts. My mom only made this dish once a year, from my grandmother's recipe, and it was always a special treat. Strata is simply a savory bread pudding or a casserole of eggs with cubes of bread and sometimes meat or vegetables. Served fresh from the oven, strata is fluffy like a soufflé.
This Easter, I decided that this dish is too good not to enjoy in the spring and made it with cubes of buttery brioche, sausage and herbs with a side of the first local spring asparagus of the season.
8 fresh eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 cups grated sharp white cheddar
1/2 pound pork sausage, cooked and chopped
2 cups brioche, cubed (or a white bread, if desired)
1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
fresh herbs as desired
Beat the eggs, combining with milk and dry mustard. Layer bread, sausage and cheese in a casserole and add egg mixture. Refrigerate at least four hours (up to 12) to allow bread to soak in custard mixture. Bake for 50-60 minutes in 350 degree oven, uncovered. Allow to stand 15 minutes before serving.