Lightly sweet, egg-rich challah makes this creamy egg casserole even more full-flavored. Baking it in a hot-water bath allows it to cook gently and retain its moistness. The recipe, adapted from our TV show Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking, has been simplified for the home cook.
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
- 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 lb. asparagus, tough ends removed; sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 4 cups packed baby spinach, long stems removed (about 3 oz.)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped whole scallions (about 5)
- 4 stalks green garlic (root ends trimmed and any tough green parts discarded), cut into 1/4-inch pieces, or 2 cloves garlic, minced, and 3 more whole scallions, chopped
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 lb. brioche or challah bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (from five to six 3/4-inch slices)
- 8 large eggs, preferably organic
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 Tbs. fresh marjoram, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
- Butter a 2-1/2- to 3-quart shallow baking dish (about 2 inches deep; preferably with handles) and set aside.
- Have a kettle of hot water ready, and a larger baking pan in which the baking dish fits comfortably with enough room to remove the dish easily with silicone oven mitts.
- In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat into small pieces, until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove to a large bowl and set aside.
- In the same skillet over medium heat, melt 1 Tbs. butter. Add all the vegetables and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and bright green, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture and the cubed bread to the bowl with the sausage and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, marjoram, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
- Add the egg mixture to the bowl with the sausage-vegetable mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are combined. Set the buttered baking dish inside the larger baking pan and pour the contents of the bowl into the baking dish. Cover the baking dish with a piece of foil cut slightly larger than the size of the dish.
- Place the baking pan in the oven, then pour enough hot water from the kettle to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish to create a water bath.
- Bake for 1 hour. If the mixture is still loose, remove the foil from the baking dish and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the center is firm.
- Remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove the dish from the water bath using silicone oven mitts.
- Let the casserole cool for 15 minutes before serving.