Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spinach and Cheese Strata

Source: Gourmet / Epicurious

A couple of weeks ago, we had guests in town. This picture pretty much sums up our Friday night:

There may or may not have been...12 or so hours of libations involved. What can I say, when you pick up some of your favorite out-of-towners in the afternoon, the celebrations begin early!

I knew going into that weekend we'd be having some fun, and I wanted a nice brunch the next morning, but I didn't want to slave in the kitchen in the wee hours in a...compromised state. This make-ahead strata is PERFECT for such an occasion. I was able to make this a day in advance, and then pull it out of the refrigerator in the morning and pop it in the oven. Then my husband made pancakes, I made toast and bacon, and voila! you have a meal that puts out the impression you've been up with the birds, preparing a gourmet brunch!

Besides the convenience, this strata was DELICIOUS. You had me at Gruyere, strata. You had me at Gruyere.

Spinach and Cheese Strata

1 (10-oz) package frozen spinach, thawed
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed (1 inch) French or Italian bread (1/2 lb)
6 oz coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1. Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then finely chop.

2. Cook onion in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in spinach, then remove from heat.

3. Spread one third of bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other shallow ceramic baking dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).

4. Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Chill strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb custard), or up to 1 day.

5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Let strata stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

amber said...

That looks and sounds delish!