Monte Cristo Strata

Your perfect Christmas side dish or Holidays Pot-Luck


Feeds 8 people
  • Softened butter
  • One 1 1/4-pound loaf bakery white bread—crusts removed, bread sliced (about
  • 18 slices)
  • 1/4 cup grainy mustard
  • 1 pound thinly sliced Virginia ham
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4-pound Gruyère cheese, coarsely shredded (3 cups)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Step 1     Preheat the oven to 375° and butter a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange one-third of the bread in the bottom of the dish and spread with half of the mustard. Top with half of the ham, 1 tablespoon of the tarragon and one-third of the Gruyère cheese. Repeat the layering, leaving off the last layer of cheese. Step 2     In a medium bowl, whisk the milk with the eggs and season generously with black pepper. Pour the custard evenly over the dish, pressing the bread to absorb the liquid. Pat the remaining cheese on top and cover with a sheet of buttered parchment paper. Step 3     Bake the strata in the center of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbling and browned around the edges. Remove the parchment and turn on the broiler. Broil for about 3 minutes, just until the top is golden and bubbling. Let rest for 10 minutes, then cut the strata into squares and serve. The unbaked strata can be refrigerated overnight.

Meet Chef Philippe Olivier Robles

Robles, a graduate of the Haute-Vue Culinary School in Morlàss, France, has more than twenty-five years of experience in highly respected dining establishments. Before joining Resort Collection, Robles was executive chef for Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Prior to his tenure at Sandestin, he held the position of chef de cuisine at Criolla’s Restaurant on Highway 30A in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Robles’ talent has carried him to positions in France, Switzerland, and Hawaii. Robles has worked for five-star fine dining restaurants such as the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Buckhead in Atlanta and the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Maui, Hawaii. In France, the prestigious Restaurant Gerard employed Robles’ talent as did Hôtel du Béarn, Restaurant La Marmite, Hôtel du Palais, and Hôtel de Chiberta. His skills were further honed during his work at Noga Hilton in Geneva, Switzerland. “I have a life-long passion for food. My commitment to quality and excellence can be tasted in every dish!” –Philippe Olivier Robles