MUSHROOM AND THREE-CHEESE STRATA (for eight)
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, plus 2 tablespoons butter for the baking dish
1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
½ pound French or Italian bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (8 cups)
1 cup (packed) grated Fontina cheese
1-½ cups (packed) grated Parmesan
12 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), crumbled (about 3 cups)
1 cup whipping cream
1-3/4 cups whole milk
9 large eggs
¾ cup chopped fresh chives or green onion tops
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool.
- Butter a 3-quart gratin dish or other shallow baking dish. Spread one third of bread cubes in dish and top evenly with one third of mushrooms. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice, ending with cheeses.
- Whisk cream, milk, eggs, chives, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl to blend. Pour evenly over strata. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 8 hours to allow bread to absorb custard.
- Lat strata stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350*. Bake strata, uncovered, until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, about 55 minutes . Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
NOTE: The strata can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking.
adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, September, 1999