What’s warm and toasty, cheesy and comforting- and full of bright spring flavors?? ? THIS Asparagus & Spring Herb Strata, of course!
So what exactly is a strata? And why should you make one for brunch?
Much like a savory bread pudding, a strata is a simple baked dish made with milk, egg and cheese.
It’s also “second cousins” with another egg-based brunch dish, the quiche.
I DO love a good quiche as much as the next person… but stratas are a lot easier to toss together as they don’t have a pesky crust to deal with… and since they’re made with milk, not cream, I feel better about indulging! ?
Yet in no way do stratas play sloppy seconds to a quiche. They are decadent and comforting, they feed a crowd, and are gorgeous- nice and toasty brown as they emerge from the oven.
And THIS version with asparagus and spring herbs is one of my absolute favorites.
I am thrilled to embrace the freshness of this season of renewal and growth, and the bounty of its perfectly delectable produce. Yes, I’m looking at you asparagus and bright green herbs!
What better way to appreciate this season than with Mother’s Day brunch?
This Asparagus and Spring Herb Strata is just the ticket, hitting all the right notes. The mixture of the mint, basil, dill and parsley along with the tender asparagus is SO perfectly seasonal.
So easy to put together, and a perfect match for a holiday celebration. You’ll be on cloud 9! This dish is really one of my most favorite creations from this year!
Happy Mother’s Day! ?
Can I swap out the goat cheese?
Absolutely. I understand there are some people out there who just don’t care for goat cheese, and this dish is beautiful with any number of different cheeses. Try fresh mozzarella, sliced similarly to the goat cheese and layered on top.
Feta is also a great substitution, crumbled over the strata.
If you go with a firmer cheese, I recommend grating it and mixing it in with the bread and other ingredients. Gruyere, swiss, a firm mozzarella, or mild white cheddar would be good examples of cheeses to use in this way. If you have a favorite mild white cheese, give it a shot!
What kind of bread should I use for this strata? And can I make it ahead?
In most other recipes, I’d tackle these questions independently, but as they are so interconnected in this dish, I want to address them together. Certain breads are better options, depending on WHEN you assemble the dish.
- If you are making this ahead of time, such as the night before your brunch, choose a super crusty, firm and sturdy white loaf such as a sourdough or bakery bread loaf. The crust will soften in the milk and egg mixture as it sits overnight.
- If you are making this the morning of, a softer brioche or challah, is fine to use. Don’t use a super soft loaf if you are assembling the night before, as it will disintegrate by the time you bake it in the morning.
- If you prefer whole wheat bread you can use that instead of the white bread.
But do I HAVE to make this strata the night before?
Nope. I tested the recipe both ways. If you wake up and want to throw this together morning of, you’ll be sitting pretty within an hour. I have also thoroughly enjoyed this dish for dinner alongside a bright green salad like my spinach salad with lentils, oranges & dates!
Any ZESTY twists I should consider?
To me, this is a perfect brunch dish because of its simplicity and fresh, herbaceous flavor. However, here are a couple of ideas:
- If you wanted to add a little heat, you could include some red pepper flakes, or a little chopped jalapeno.
- A different, non-spicy addition could be to lay slices of prosciutto onto the top about 10-15 minutes before it’s finished baking. It will crisp up in the oven and add a great salty / earthy note.
Asparagus & Spring Herb Strata
- 1 bunch thin pencil asparagus
- ½ cup chopped herbs a mix of dill, parsley, basil and mint
- 3 scallions white and green parts chopped
- 9 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon mustard powder
- 6 ounces goat cheese or see substitutions above for other options
- 10 ounces cubed day old crusty bread
- Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 12” baking dish and set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Add the salt, mustard powder, black pepper, herbs, and milk. Whisk well to combine. Stir in the bread cubes, asparagus, and scallions.
- Pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with rounds of the goat cheese, and place in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes until set in the middle and nicely browned on top. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve warm.
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