The dark of night lingers as I wake in the morning. Days are shorter and the air is crisper. I crave pumpkin and apple, spice and warmth, sweaters and scarves, boots and woolen socks, leaves crunching underfoot. As the calendar inches towards October, I’m ready to embrace fall.
The lake calls my name. Summer’s waning and time at the lake is running short for the season. Soon the swans will fly to sunnier skies and the lake will freeze. And the lake will fall into winter hibernation. I’m not ready for winter.
One more trip to the lake as the weather holds. One more kabob on the grill, smokey and charred. One more asparagus before the season runs away from me. Asparagus and chicken sausage strata is the perfect introduction into fall – light, yet substantial. Warm and comforting. Perfect for chilly mornings at the kitchen table, cats lazily sleeping in the warmth of the upstairs. A hint of fall, stubbornly clinging to summer.
Asparagus and Chicken Sausage Strata
One pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
One Tablespoon unsalted butter
Half pound chicken breakfast sausage, cooked and portioned into bite-size pieces
One Udi’s gluten free baguette, cut into bite-size pieces
One dozen large eggs
Quarter cup heavy cream
Quarter teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Half cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a medium pan, saute the asparagus in one Tablespoon unsalted butter until lightly cooked, but still crisp, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the asparagus with the cooked breakfast sausage and bread pieces. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dozen eggs, quarter cup of cream, quarter teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus, sausage, and bread.
Wrap the top of the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours, if not overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
After resting, sprinkle the half cup Parmesan cheese in the bottom of a buttered 9×9 baking dish. Top the Parmesan cheese with the egg and bread mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 20 additional minutes, or until the top is set.