Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spinach Strata

I had quite the adventure this weekend because despite being completely overwhelmed by finals and school, I agreed to help my friend cater a movie shoot she was doing. For twenty people. So I had quite the stressful adventure putting this together. I decided the best way to feed so many people would be a strata, even though I had never made one before (it should become apparent at this point that I am frequently responsible for my own stress). But I was very excited by the concept of a strata as I am about all brunch-y sorts of food. It's basically a savory bread pudding quiche hybrid thing. Boy o boy is it easy and tasty.

I made plenty of little cubes from french bread.... and ate quite a few of them before they made in to the pan. So if you are equally obsessed with bread as I am, cut a few extra cubes.
This dish started the way every good dish should start: with quite a bit of melted butter.
 Drain a bunch of frozen chopped spinach and then cook it in the butter with some chopped onions. It beginning to sound very promising. Very promising indeed.
 So along with the butter seen earlier, cheese, eggs, and milk are quite crucial ingredients for brunch making.
 The assembly is easy. Throw it all into a casserole pan. NICE. I got the recipe here at Annie's Eats

8 cups French or Italian bread cut into 1 inch cubes
3 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 10 oz packages chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups grated gruyere or swiss cheese
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
9 large eggs
2 3/4 cups milk

1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When it has melted, add the onions to the pan and saute until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add half of the salt and pepper and all of the nutmeg and stir it in for another minute more. Stir in the spinach then remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Butter a 3 quart baking dish or a a 9x13 pan. Layer the dish with a third of the bread cubes, then one third of the spinach mixture, then one third of the cheese. Repeat twice more until all of the bread, spinach, and cheese is used up.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and remaining salt and pepper until well blended. Pour this evenly over the bread and spinach in the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or up to a day (this isn't necessary, I baked mine right away but I think it would taste even better if the bread had the opportunity to really soak up the eggy mixture).

4. If refrigerated, let the strata sit at room temperature for 30 minutes then bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until it is cooked through and the top is golden brown and lovely. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

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