16-20 1-inch slices of supermarket french or italian bread
5 tablespoons butter
3 medium potatoes
4 medium shallots (or sweet onions)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons minced rosemary
1/2-1 cup diced ham Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup white cooking wine
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons minced parsley
2 1/2 cups grated cheese (you can be fancy and use fontina or sharp cheddar or just the already-shredded Costco Mexican blend)
1. Toast bread in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 225-degree F (107-degree C) oven. Thistakes about 40 minutes (watch to not let them burn!) OR just leave slices out overnight to dry. When cooled, butter both sides.
2. Cut potatoes to bite-sized chunks and boil in salted water until just tender (4-5 minutes).
3. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and cook potatoes until they begin to brown. Add shallots and cook, stirring frequently until they are soft and translucent. Add rosemary and garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add ham. Transfer to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add wine to the skillet and cook until reduced to half. Mix in ham/potato-and-shallot mixture.
5. Whisk eggs and add half and half plus kosher salt and parsley.
6. Butter a 9x13-inch pan and assemble the strata by arranging three layers: bread, half the potato mixture, and cheese. Pour the egg/cream over top. Cover with plastic wrap, weigh the strata down with something heavy (a big bag of brown sugar; bags of dried beans), and refrigerate overnight.
7. To cook, heat oven to 325 degrees F (163 degrees C). Remove strata from fridge and bring close to room temperature. Bake for 60-70 minutes until it starts to get golden and puffed and bubbly.
8. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- You can make this with spinach and gruyere, and it's delicious. The big change isthat you saute a large onion (or 5 shallots) in butter and then add a box of chopped frozen spinach (or a 10-ounce bag of fresh spinach , chopped). Season with salt and pepper. Skip the rosemary and garlic. Add 8 ounces of gruyere cheese in place of fontina or cheddar.