Chef Steve Cain’s Smoked Ham & Gruyere Strata

Go behind the scenes at Seattle’s favorite steakhouse, El Gaucho, where Events Executive Chef Steve Cain shares of of his favorite dishes for the holidays!

Smoked Ham and Gruyere Strata
Serves 8
This strata is deeply satisfying and delicious. The grainy mustard and tarragon give this dish a vibrant flavor.


  • Softened butter
  • 1 ¼ pound loaf bakery white bread crust removed
  • ¼ cup grainy mustard
  • 1 pound thinly sliced Niman ham
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • Plus 2 teaspoons for garnish
  • ¾ pound shredded gruyere cheese
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees butter a 9×13 glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange on 1/3 of the bread on the bottom of the dish and spread half the mustard on the bread then add half of the ham sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the tarragon add 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat the layering.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs and add the milk and season with the fresh pepper. Pour the custard evenly over the layers.
  3. You can prep the strata up to a day ahead of time.
  4. Cover the top of the strata with a sheet of buttered parchment paper and place it on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until bubbling and browned. Remove the parchment paper and turn the broiler on broil for about 3 minutes just until the top is golden brown. Let it rest for 10 minutes and cut into squares and serve.

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