Fontina, Asparagus and Leek Strata

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)

cooking spray

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.


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