Stratas are meant to be put together in advance and refrigerated overnight or at least 4 to 6 hours before baking, which makes them ideal for a plan-ahead brunch or supper. Instead of adding a final layer of bread to the top, I prefer to use breadcrumbs, which are less dense. For bread, use sturdy day-old sandwich bread or an Italian bread, sliced about 1/4-inch thick.
2 teaspoons minced fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
12 (1-ounce) thin slices firm white sandwich bread (such as Pepperidge Farm)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded fontina cheese, divided
2 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (about 3 slices)
How to Make It
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, tarragon, 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.