January 1, 2012

... Spinach and Cheese Strata

Happy New Year!  I hope yours is off to a tremendous start!  I kicked mine off with having my family over for brunch.  What better way to begin 2012 than with good food and family?  

I'm excited to report that my first strata was a success!  Hooray!  I must admit I caught myself channeling Sarah Jessica Parker in The Family Stone while I was baking.  Thank goodness mine didn't end up the way hers did!

Spinach and Cheese Strata
serves 8-10

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed of all excess liquid, and chopped
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 French or Italian bread in 1-inch cubes (1/2 pound)
6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyere (2 cups)
2 ounces finely grated Parmesan (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Saute onion in butter in a large, heavy skillets over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and continue cooking for one minute.  Stir in spinach, remove from heat and set aside.

Spread one-third of the bread cubes in a well-buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other ceramic baking dish.  Top with one-third of spinach  mixture and one-third of each cheese.  Repeat, layering twice, with remaining bread, spinach, and cheese.

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

The next day, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45-55 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Taylor's Notes:
Another easy and delicious recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  I followed the directions to a tee except that my baking dish allowed for only two layers instead of three.  I don't think it made a bit of difference - so work with what you've got.  I baked it for 50 minutes and let it set for about 10 while I was finishing up the rest of breakfast.  It was really great and I'll definitely make it again... love recipes that you can mix up the night before (like this one) and bake the next morning!

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

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