Monday, September 6, 2010

Meatless Mondays: Make-Ahead Favorite

I have a new make-ahead recipe that I love. I can't wait to have an excuse to eat it again! I made it for my graduation party and for the baby shower a few weeks ago. It's a strata, which is a dish made with bread, eggs, and cheese.


I love that stratas are hearty enough to satisfy full-time vegetarians and carnivores alike. Can you see why?


This recipe is stellar ~ it appeared on both Smitten Kitchen and Annie's Eats, two of my favorite blogs. You layer the bread, spinach mixture, and cheese in a pan much like you would layer a lasagna.


Then you pour the egg and milk mixture over the top and let it chill in the fridge overnight. The custard soaks into the bread and the flavors mingle a bit. In the morning the strata is oven-ready, making it so much easier to get brunch on the table.


And the flavor of the spinach and gruyere cheese is . . . well, yum! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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Spinach and Cheese Strata
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Annie's Eats
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups onion, finely chopped
  • 2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. pepper, divided
  • Dash freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. prepared Dijon mustard
  • 8 cups cubed French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 oz. coarsely grated Gruyere (about 2 cups)
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 2/3 cup)
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2¾ cup milk
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and the nutmeg, and continue to cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the spinach, remove from the heat and set aside.

Butter the inside of a 2½-3 quart baking dish. Layer the bottom of the dish with one third of the bread cubes. Top with one third of the spinach mixture and one third of each of the cheeses. Repeat these layers twice more with the bread, spinach and cheese.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, the remaining ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard. Whisk together until blended. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach layers in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Bake uncovered until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, 45-55 minutes. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

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