Monte Cristo Strata
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 12 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 18 to 20 slices quality white sandwich bread, crusts trimmed
- 10 ounces ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 10 large eggs
- 3 cups (packed) grated Gruyere cheese (12 ounce)
- 3 1/2 cups milk (do not use low-fat or non-fat)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add mushrooms and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Generously butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Line bottom with half
of bread slices, cutting to fit. Top with ham, then 2 cups of cheese. Top with mushrooms.
Add enough remaining bread in single layer to cover.
- Whisk eggs, milk, 1 tablespoon thyme, dry mustard, salt and pepper in large bowl
to blend. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove from refrigerator and let sit 30 minutes while preheating oven to 350
- Uncover baking dish.
- Bake until puffed and golden, about one hour.
- Mix remaining cup of cheese and 1 tablespoon thyme; sprinkle on top.
- Bake until cheese melts, about 3 minutes.
- Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 8 to 10.
Leftovers are equally as good re-warmed the next day in the microwave.