Winter, spring, summer, or fall, this crowd-pleasing, make-ahead Cheesy Veggie and Ham Brunch Casserole rises to the occasion any time of the year. The hint of white wine and Dijon mustard takes a traditional breakfast casserole to a whole new level.
Of Tide and Thyme
I truly treasure my collection of cookbooks and food magazines. In fact, I’m rather territorial when it comes to them. And like most home chefs, there is a top tier I simply could not live without. The Junior League of Annapolis cookbook titled Of Tide and Thyme (love the name!) falls squarely in that category.
Maryland’s capital, and home to the US Naval Academy, is the perfect destination if you’re seeking deeply rooted history via enchanting walkways, enriching scenic vistas, and delectably wonderful food. Of Tide and Thyme is a reflection of Annapolis’ casual charm and focus on fresh ingredients. My 22-year-old copy is well splattered. The telltale sign of a good cookbook.
The cookbook’s recipe is written to serve 20! I’ve trimmed that down to a more manageable 8-10 servings. I added fresh zucchini, red bell pepper, and shallots for additional flavor, color, and texture. A blend of gruyere and white cheddar is layered throughout so every bite has a bit of nutty creaminess. Rather than combining just the standard eggs and milk as the binder, white wine and Dijon mustard are added for another dimension of flavor.
Assembling the casserole is straightforward. First, start by spreading out the bread cubes in the baking dish, and drizzle with the melted butter. Second, add the ham and half the cheese. Omit the ham to keep the dish vegetarian. Press down lightly with your fingers to ensure even layering.
The veggies and remaining cheese follow. Don’t worry about not seeing the bread too well at this point. Once the egg mixture soaks into the bread, the cubes will expand and resurface in the oven. Promise! Cover and chill the assembled casserole several hours or overnight. Your work is done for now!
The last tip is to take the casserole out of the fridge at least one hour before baking. Otherwise, it will take longer to cook than indicated in the recipe. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into Annapolis’ lifestyle as much as we have over the years. Most importantly, a special thank you to all of the women who took part in compiling a treasured cookbook that stands the test of thyme. 🙂
Also, check out our Sweet Potato Hash with Baked Eggs and Avocado Cilantro Crema for a gluten-free brunch option. Enjoy!
- 1 loaf day-old rustic bread, cut into 1-inch cubes, about 8 cups
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 8 ounces ham steak, ¼-inch dice, about 2 cups
- 1 cup packed medium cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
- 1 cup packed gruyere cheese, freshly shredded
- 2 small zucchini, quarter-moon slices, about 2 cups
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped, about 1 ½ cups
- 3 medium shallots, chopped, about 1 cup
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced, about ⅔ cup
- 10 extra-large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Several hours before assembling casserole, spread bread cubes in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet to get dry. Alternatively, toast them in a 375°F oven for 10 minutes.
Grease a 13x9x2 baking dish. Spread bread cubes in baking dish and drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle with ham and half of the cheddar and gruyere cheeses. Next, sprinkle zucchini, shallots, bell pepper, and green onions over the top. Spread remaining cheese over the veggies.
In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, wine, and mustard with an electric mixer until foamy, 1-2 minutes. Mix in thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture evenly into prepared baking dish. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before baking.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes more, or until center is set and an inserted knife does not come out wet. When done, sprinkle hot casserole with Parmesan cheese. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
* Feel free to omit the ham to keep the dish vegetarian.