Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ham and Cheese "Egg Thing"

Common wisdom says that you are supposed to start the new year out by eating pork, because pigs push their snouts forward in the ground when rooting for food. Moving forward, not backward, blah blah blah.

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm not about to whip up a pork chop on the morning of Jan. 1. Especially because I have an affinity for Riesling, house parties, and late nights. Oh, my head.

enter: the Egg Thing.

Ah, the Egg Thing. Long has it been a favorite in my house, and the houses of many of our brunch-inclined friends. I think it is actually called an Egg Strata, but we've all called it Egg Thing for so long that no one bothers with the real name anymore.

The Egg Thing is the perfect New Year's Day brunch food, for the following reasons:

  1. It is super easy to make;
  2. It can be made the day before, and stored, covered and uncooked, in the fridge;
  3. You can add a myriad of various fix-ins to the basic recipe. In this case, it will be some leftover holiday ham (Pork! It totally counts!) and cheddar cheese.
Also, it keeps very well in the fridge once cooked, so leftovers are great for quick-heat microwave lunches during the god-awful work week that follows the New Year.

Ham and Cheese "Egg Thing"

12 eggs
1 quart milk (do not use skim, it is too watery)
1 loaf sliced white sandwich bread
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups leftover holiday ham, cubed

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
  • In a greased (cooking spray is fine, butter is better) 13x9 pan, lay out a single layer of bread slices. Sprinkle on ham and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, reserving the rest.
  • Add another layer of bread. Press down gently.
  • Pour egg mixture over bread/ham/cheese layers. To ensure that the liquid penetrates all the way, gently shake the pan, and poke through the top layer of bread with a fork.
  • Top with remaining cheese.
  • If you are making this the night before you plan to serve, stop here, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking the next day.
  • Remove any coverings. Place in center of preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour, or until the top is puffy and the middle jiggles slightly when the pan is shaken.

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