Friday, January 6, 2012

The Cheese Lover’s Brunch Casserole

Post holiday depression? Need another reason to get family and friends together? Cheese, of course, is the cure-all remedy. For maximum indulgence: what better setting to enjoy cheese and good company than Sunday Brunch! I’m hard pressed to think of anything better than waking up late, enjoying copious amounts of breakfast foods and drinking champagne before noon.

This dish is easy and versatile, but above all, it is super rich! Melty layers of Carmody and Gruyere compliment the salty bacon and fresh herbs baked into the casserole. Accompany with mixed greens and toasted croissants with jam. Life is good!

1 lb bacon
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
8 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup Bellwether Carmody, grated
1 cup Greens Creek Gruyere, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
Unsalted butter
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Cook bacon on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Chop cooked bacon and set aside. (Can be made ahead)

Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a medium sauce pan. Add shallots and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes and herbs; stir for 1 minute. Add chopped bacon to pan, mix to combine and remove from heat.

Whisk eggs, half and half, whipping cream, cheese (reserving some to melt on top), and salt in large bowl to blend well. Combine egg mixture with the bacon mixture and pour into buttered baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese and parsley over top. Bake until top of casserole is golden brown and knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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