Savory Spring Strata

California Walnut Board
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Prep: 40 minutes
  • Cook: 35-40 minutes

This strata a complete meal when served with a green salad.


-- Nonstick spray for the pan
2tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2cups chopped onions
1/2teaspoon dried thyme
2teaspoons dried tarragon
1 1/4teaspoons salt
6 to 8cups sliced domestic mushrooms (1 1/2 pounds)
1/3pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and minced
3/4pound asparagus, trimmed (tough stem ends discarded) and cut into 1-inch pieces
2tablespoons minced garlic
1/4cup dry sherry
2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/8teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3cups bread cubes (1/2-inch pieces)
5large eggs
2cups milk (low-fat)
1cup walnuts
1cup (packed) grated medium cheddar (optional)
-- Sour cream, yogurt, or crème fraîche (optional)


ABOUT THE BREAD:  For best results, use a country-style bread with a crisp crust and an airy, chewy interior (what's known in bread-speak as a "high crust to crumb ratio").

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (325F for a glass pan).  Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Place a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat, and add the oil.  When the oil is hot, add the onions, herbs, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.  Sauté over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are soft.
  3. Add the mushrooms and the remaining salt.  Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the asparagus, cover and cook for about 10 minutes longer over medium heat.  
  4. Stir in the garlic, sherry, and lemon juice.  Cook, stirring, for just a few minutes longer, then remove from the heat.  Grind in some black pepper. 
  5. Distribute the bread cubes evenly in the prepared pan.  Spread the vegetable mixture on top of the bread, being sure to include all the liquid.
  6. Combine the eggs and milk in a blender or a food processor, and whip until smooth.  Pour the liquid mixture over the bread and mushrooms, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Use your finger or a spoon to poke the bread into the liquid until all the pieces are soaked.  Sprinkle walnuts on top and add the cheese, if desired.
  7. Bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the custard is almost set.  (It's okay if it is still slightly wet on top, as it will continue to cook from its own heat for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven.) 
  8. Cool for at least 15  minutes before serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature, with a dab of sour cream, yogurt, or crème fraîche —and/or salsa—on top of each serving, if desired.

Recipe Courtesy of Mollie Katzen.

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 300
  • Fat 16g
  • Saturated Fat 2.5g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 5g
  • Cholesterol 115mg
  • Sodium 620mg
  • Carbohydrate 25g
  • Fiber 3g
  • Protein 13g
  • Trans Fat 0g