Mother’s Day Strata

I’m sure you all have your Mother’s Day meal planned for the Mother in your life. Right?

Well, if you don’t, let me remind you that Mother’s Day is looming around the corner, people, and you better get cracking. Here’s a recipe that you can use for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner (with a side salad). You can even claim the recipe as your own – here at Jersey Bites we promise to keep a zipped lip. Mom will be so proud.

Strata is an eggy, bready, custardy dish somewhere in between a bread pudding and a frittata and it can be made with just about any filling. You could use sausage and bell peppers, bacon and spinach, goat cheese, fontina, mozzarella, cheddar — you get the idea. Because spring is in full bloom in New Jersey, I chose some locally grown purple asparagus.

In Mercer County, Terhune Orchards has been harvesting asparagus nearly every morning. In Hunterdon, you can find Jersey Fresh asparagus at Homestead Farm Market in Lambertville, at Gunn Creek Farm Stand in Stockton, and you should be able to find some at the Farmers Markets opening up for the season in the area, including Sergeantsville Farmers Market, West Windsor Farmers Market, Greening Princeton Farmers Market, Hopewell Valley Farmers Market, among others (you can find a list of New Jersey farmers markets here.)

So, have fun cooking for Mom. Just remember to do the dishes!

Asparagus and Sausage Strata

recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2009

Serves 8-10

6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups sliced green onions
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup finely grated Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound mild sausages, casings removed
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and large stalks peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1-pound loaf rustic French bread, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 cups (loosely packed) coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch ceramic or glass baking dish. Whisk first 7 ingredients in large bowl; sprinkle generously with pepper. Set aside.

Place sausage in large nonstick skillet; push to 1 side. Add asparagus pieces and sauté over high heat, breaking up sausage with fork, until sausage is cooked through and asparagus are brown in spots, about 7 minutes.

Arrange half of bread slices in prepared dish. Pour half of egg mixture over. Sprinkle with half of cheese, then half of sausage and asparagus mixture. Repeat layering. Let stand 20 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to submerge.

Bake strata until puffed and brown, about 1 hour. Cool slightly and serve.

Robin Damstra is the Regional Editor for Hunterdon and Mercer Counties. She graduated Douglass College at Rutgers University, where she majored in English. She began teaching herself to cook in 2006. In 2007,  she started her food blog, Caviar and Codfish where she shares her culinary discoveries and gorgeous food photography.  She currently lives in Stockton, New Jersey.