Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spinach and Cheese Strata

Make ahead breakfast casseroles are one of the easiest and most delicious things about Christmas morning in our house.  This year I decided to go with a sweet and a savory option.  the savory casserole came from Smitten Kitchen and it did not disappoint - even my mom, who is pretty anti-spinach, gobbled this right up.  I used a mix of gruyere and smoked fontina but any rich, deeply flavored cheese would work!


Spinach and Cheese Strata
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

10 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of all excess liquid
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated 
12 oz French baguette, cubed
1 cup of gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup smoked fontina cheese, shredded
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons coarse Dijon mustard

Mix gruyere, smoked fontina, and parmesan cheese together.  Set aside.

Sauté shallot 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 half of the bread cubes in a well-buttered medium sized casserole dish. Top with half of the spinach mixture and half of the cheese mixture. Repeat layering 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, 55 to 65 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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