Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spinach and Cheese Strata

It seems I am simply not in the frame of mind to come up with my own recipes currently. I've got school fever. My break, which when school starts, will be a full six weeks (maybe not having to take finals isn't such a great thing, since it gives me an extra two weeks off), is starting to drive me batty. All I can think about is my excitement over abstract algebra and differential equations. I'm a nerd. Luckily, when I have nothing up my sleeve to experiment with, there's a whole world of exceptional food bloggers out there to give me inspiration.

In my efforts to reduce my food waste, I've been tossing stale bread in the freezer to be used later for bread puddings and other such things. Happily, Smitten Kitchen's Deb recently posted a recipe for spinach and cheese strata. Yum. I happened to have a pile of frozen bread (and admittedly, still do), so this seemed like the perfect thing to prepare the night before P left town. Not only would it give him a good, filling breakfast, but it'd also provide me plenty of food to munch on for the first day or two that he's gone. You know how I get when he's gone for only a short time - mashed potatoes, tuna casserole and couscous is basically what I live on. So it's good for me to have food already made in anticipation of this trip so I'm not living out of cans and boxes.

Anyway, this strata is really easy to make, although it'd be easier to make if you were smarter than I was and had a concept of how big of a bowl you might need for this or that. Less dishes and all. It's filling, delicious, and reheats well. Hope you enjoy!

"Spinach and Cheese Strata
Adapted from Gourmet (sniffle), February 2003

Serves 6 to 8

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, squeeze 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 lb)
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 5 minutes before serving."

2 comments:

  1. This certainly looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Mary. It's pretty good stuff. I'm weird about moist bread, so I've been broiling slices of the leftovers to crisp it up, and it works really well.

    ReplyDelete