A strata, as the name indicates, is a layered dish, in this case composed of French bread, spinach, and two kinds of cheeses. The layers are then covered in a delicious custard that absorbs into the bread overnight, then baked until puffed and golden brown. This is an impressive brunch dish that can be made in advance, making it a perfect and easy choice. Make sure you allow enough time (at least 8 hours) for the strata to rest in the fridge, and bring to room temperature before baking.
Spinach and cheese strata
- 1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 8 cups French bread in 1 inch cubes
- 2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère cheese
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 3/4 cups milk
- 9 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Press thawed spinach into a fine mesh sieve, to remove excess liquid, then finely chop the spinach leaves.
In a large pan, saute the onion in butter over medium heat, until soft and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add spinach, then remove from heat.
Spread one third of bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart shallow ceramic dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).
In a large bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and pour evenly over strata.
Cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb custard).
Preheat oven to 350°F. Let strata stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Bake strata, uncovered, until puffed and golden brown, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.