Strada is an egg-custard type casserole, frequently served for breakfast or lunch. It’s a riff on the word “strata”, which mean ‘layers’ as found in natural formations of geology.
My mother first introduced me to the dish, which she made on occasion for her social gatherings – using a relatively common standard list of ingredients of eggs, milk, ham, cheese, and crust-less bread. One layers the bread in the bottom of a baking dish, layers ham on top of the bread, and fills the remainder of the dish with a mixture of eggs, milk (or cream) and cheese, which is whipped into a frenzy. Refrigerate overnight before baking in the morning. The end result is reminiscent of quiche.
I created my own variation later in life, with a “reuben” strada, using corned beef, swiss, and kraut. I squeeze as much moisture out of the kraut as possible, lest the dish become a mushy mess, and substitute rye bread. It’s pretty damned good.
One of the great things about living in Portland is the plethora of a choice of gourmet markets, and one of my favorite is “Market of Choice,” a decidedly upscale grocery, with the requisite separate counters for a fishmonger, butcher, and deli. The deli (and bakery) have a bevy of prepared dishes designed to delight the taste buds and seriously injure your bank account.
We picked up a single serving of their asparagus and prosciutto strada yesterday for our Easter breakfast. It was a very hefty serving, easily enough for two, and the register topped $7.50 f0r the slice.
Market of Choice’s variation is heavier on bread than my own, and also heavier on savory, creamy cheese. On a per ounce basis, it’s not very economical, but then, there is no measure on “cents per taste sensation”, otherwise this version would be very economical.
It’s a delight.
One thing you can’t tell from the photo is the size of the piece, it’s more than ample.
Here’s a basic recipe for strada; you might try your own variations, like salmon and cream cheese, for instance.