I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to make a spinach and cheese strata. I first tasted the strata at the Harvard Common Press and Boston Brunchers event and knew I would recreate this unbelievable cheese and quiche-like bread pudding.
A strata is very forgiving and is flexible, allowing one to use various amounts of cheeses, onion, spinach and other vegetables. I chose to double the amount of onion and spinach for more flavor. In terms of results, the strata was well received and seconds were devoured.
Adapted from Gourmet, February 2003
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, squeeze of all excess liquid, and chopped
- 2 cups finely chopped onion (2 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 lb)
- 6 ounces (2 cups)coarsely garlic cheese curds, sharp cheddar or Gruyère (We used garlic cheese curds)
- 2 ounces (1 cup) finely grated parmesan (We used extra sharp cheddar)
- 2 3/4 cups milk
- 9 large eggs
Sauté onion in butter in a large, heavy skillet 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 bread cubes,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 eat 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°F. Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.