This dish has become a favorite brunch item of mine. It's adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Gourmet, yada, yada. You get the picture....
I love a good brunch and it's something I prefer to do because I find it much easier to do than a dinner party. It's more me, more relaxed. And I'm all about easy..... recipes as well. But, they have to be delicious. Not an easy combo to find, however; this dish fits all of my requirements. Everyone raves and thinks you have slaved over it..... ha! Not so, but it tastes like you did too, it's such a delicious and easy dish.
Like Deb, I used a low sided, oval 3 quart baking dish. And do watch the timing on the finished dish. It takes longer than what the recipe calls for, more like an hour and ten minutes. So just check it after the 55 minutes with a toothpick in the center. If it appears a little moist you are good. But if the toothpick comes out with lots of loose egg on it, give it another five minutes and check again. Oh, I removed the strata from the fridge about an hour before I put it in to bake.
I usually bake a spiral ham, make a fruit salad of some sort (whatever is in season), and serve chocolate croissants (frozen), from Trader Joe's (amazing), and voila you have a fabulous brunch without a lot of hard work. Oh, and don't forget the mimosas. ;)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (she adapted from Gourmet)
Serves 6 to 8
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, squeeze of all excess liquid, and chopped (I buy chopped, frozen spinach)
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 long french baguette usually makes enough cubes)
6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
2 ounces finely grated parmesan (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
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 15 minutes before serving.
Enjoy this fabulous and easy dish ~