Fontina, Speck, and Onion Strata
This strata -- rich, cheesy, and studded with onion and salty speck -- is refrigerated for several hours to ensure that it soaks up all the liquid.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large sweet onion, preferably Vidalia (about 1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 10 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 10 cups day-old rustic bread (from 13 ounces), cut into 3/4 -inch cubes
- 4 ounces sliced speck or ham, coarsely chopped (1 1/4 cups)
- 3 cups shredded fontina (8 ounces)
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
Heat butter in a large high-sided skillet over high heat. Cook onion until lightly caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes (adjust heat if browning too quickly). Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer onion to a plate, and let cool.
Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk, Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Season with pepper. Add bread cubes, and toss well to combine. Toss in onion and speck. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread half the bread mixture on the bottom of a 10-by-14-inch oval baking dish. Sprinkle with 2 cups fontina. Top with remaining bread mixture. Coat a large piece of parchment with cooking spray. Cover strata with parchment, then with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Uncover, and sprinkle with remaining cup fontina. Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake until top is golden brown and crusty, 20 minutes more. Let rest for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, November 2010