Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Gruyere

We were served this strata at a brunch a couple weeks ago, and I just happen to have the recipe. It comes from The Best Make-Ahead Recipe. It's a delicious strata, but it's not my favorite strata to date. (My favorite so far has asparagus, sausage and fontina, and I have to tell you it's much easier to make than this one too!)

Sorry, I don't have a picture for you, maybe next time!

Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Gruyere
Serves 6 to 8

Though each strata calls for a certain type of cheese, feel free to substitute any good melting cheese, such as Havarti, sharp cheddar, or colby. Be sure to use supermarket-style loaf bread with a thin crust and fluffy crumb; artisan loaves with a thick crust and chewy crumb don't work well here. The strata needs to sit in the refrigerator, well covered, for at least 8 hours in order to achieve the desired consistency, and it can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

16-20 (1/2-inch-thick) slices supermarket French or Italian bread
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the baking dish
2 large shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine or vermouth
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
12 large eggs
3 1/2 cups half-and-half

1. Adjust 2 oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the bread out over 2 baking sheets and bake until dry and light golden brown, about 25 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time. Let the bread cool completely and then spread butter evenly over 1 side of each bread slice, using 4 tablespoons of the butter.

2. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until warm, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the wine to the skillet and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes; set aside to cool.

3. Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and tightly fit half of the bread slices, buttered sides up, into a single layer in the dish. Sprinkle half of the spinach mixture, then 1 cup of the cheese evenly over the bread slices. Repeat with the remaining bread slices, spinach mixture, and 1 more cup of the cheese.

4. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until combined, then whisk in the reduced wine, half-and-half , 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread layers and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheese evenly over the top.

5. TO STORE: Wrap the strata tightly with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap flush to the surface of the strata. Weight the strata down (three 1-pound boxes of brown or confectioner's sugar, laid side-by-side over the plastic-covered surface, or a gallon-size zipper-lock bag filled with about 2 pounds of sugar or rice, make ideal weights for the assembled strata.

6. TO SERVE: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, unwrap the strata and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Bake the strata, uncovered, until puffed and the edges have pulled away slightly from the sides of the dish, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

MrsJenB said...

WOW! That's amazing! I don't evek know what else to say except WOW! haha

Spinach + cheese + wine? Forget about it. I'm there. I'm there and I'm eating it.

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