We all need a little more time in our busy lives. The beauty of this casserole is that it can be made several hours ahead (or even better, the night before), so all you have to do is pop it in the oven when people start arriving. The other great thing about this casserole is that you won’t have to clear any space in your refrigerator for leftovers—it’s that good!
- Unsalted butter, softened, for the baking dish
- 8 to 10 thick slices day-old country white bread (about ½ inch thick, cut from a long square Pullman loaf)
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound)
- 6 large eggs
- 2½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh
- Italian parsley
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces mild Swiss cheese, shredded (or Gruyere)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
PREHEAT THE OVEN to 400°F. Grease a shallow 3-quart casserole dish with the softened butter. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cut or tear the bread into bite-size chunks (or cut each slice of bread into 4 squares). Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until the bread dries a bit but hasn’t taken on any color, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, break off the woody ends of the asparagus and discard. Peel the bottom half of the stalks (if you want) and cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Drop into the boiling water and cook until bright green and crisptender, about 3 minutes. Drain under cold running water and pat very dry. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, scallions, parsley, and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Layer half of the bread in the bottom of the buttered casserole. Arrange the asparagus on top and sprinkle with half of the Swiss and Parmesan. Layer the remaining bread over top and pour the custard over. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Swiss and Parmesan. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour so the bread soaks up the custard (overnight is even better). Remove the casserole from the fridge and let sit at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake until the casserole is cooked through and the top is puffed and golden, about 45 minutes.