It’s that time of year when you may be called upon to whip up a brunch for Mothers Day…or a Bridal Shower…or a Baby Shower…or a Graduation party…or any number of other late-spring and early-summer celebratory occasions. Or maybe you’re in the habit of making brunch for your family “just because!” I have a lot of favorite brunch recipes, but this one is a healthy choice and works beautifully at this time of year when asparagus (and leeks!) are in season at last.
I had this for the first time when my Godmother made it for me at her home when I was visiting and it’s been in my repertoire ever since. It’s a nice alternative to the heavier sausage and cheese brunch casseroles that are so prolific and I like to pair it with something homemade and sweet and a delightful bowl of fresh fruit to round out the meal. It might also pair nicely with some turkey sausage now that I think about it!
Enjoy all your upcoming brunch occasions!
Fontina, Asparagus, and Leek Strata
adapted from Cooking Light circa 1999
6 generous servings
1 Tbsp. butter
5 c. sliced asparagus in 1″ pieces (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 c. thinly sliced leeks – whites and light green parts (about 3 small)
1/2 c. water
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
12 (1-ounce) thin slices dense whole wheat bread
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded fontina cheese, divided
2 1/2 c. skim or 1% lowfat milk
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 1/2 c. fresh breadcrumbs (about 3 slices, diced)
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add asparagus, leeks, and water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley, lemon rind, salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Arrange half of bread slices in a single layer in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top bread slices with half of asparagus mixture, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat procedure with the remaining bread, asparagus mixture, and 1/2 cup cheese.
Combine 1/8 teaspoon pepper, milk, eggs, and egg white, and stir with a whisk until well-blended. Pour the milk mixture over strata. Cover strata, and chill for 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Uncover strata; sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until set.