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Published January 08, 2010, 12:00 AM

CHEF JEFF — ONE BYTE AT A TIME: Ham and Cheese Strata

Here’s a quick breakfast recipe for when you have a houseful of guests.

By: Herald Staff Report,

Here’s a quick breakfast recipe for when you have a houseful of guests.

Ham and Cheese Strata

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound Italian bread or baguette, cut into ½-inch slices, preferably day-old

1 cup diced ham

1 cup grated sharp white Cheddar

1 cup grated Manchego or Fontina cheese

2 tablespoons minced chives or finely chopped green onion

4 roma tomatoes cut in ¼-inch slices

8 large eggs

4 cups milk or half-and-half

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or 1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Butter bottom and sides of baking dish. Arrange half of bread slices in tight rows to cover bottom. Sprinkle with half of ham, cheeses and chives or green onion. Add another layer of bread and cover with remaining ham, cheese, chives or onions. Arrange tomatoes in pattern over top. Whisk eggs with milk, mustard, salt and pepper in large bowl until well combined. Pour over bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let strata sit on counter 20 to 25 minutes, then unwrap and bake for approximately 1 hour, until top is golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Yield: Serves 12.

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