Last night was the first time I was cooking without blogging in a while. It might even have been the first time since I started this blog. It might have to do with the fact that I was cooking for someone else besides me for once, or it might just be that I’m on vacation and heaven knows I’ve been making the most of it (i.e. sleeping in and doing absolutely nothing.)
Today, I’m going back a week to Easter brunch, for which I’d made a surprising cake and this strata. To be honest, when I first saw the recipe, I thought it looked awesome, but the end result made me a bit uneasy. Since it was the first time I was making it, when I brought it over to my friends’ for brunch and they started firing questions at me (‘what is it? is it lasagna? is it sweet or savory? is it edible? what have you done?’) I wasn’t confident enough about the dish to stand up for myself. I’m sure they saw the apologetic look in my eyes, and they were ready to jump at me the first chance they got, the little mongrels. And then, something magical happened. Someone had a bite, and then someone else, and no one had anything bad to say about it. Crazy, huh? And when I tried it, I have to admit that I was overwhelmed by how great it tasted. I mean, after all, it’s mostly bread and cheese, how amazing can it be? Well, exactly: it’s *bread* and *cheese*. Upgraded. The best combination in the world if there ever was one, made in a fancier fashion. So I’m proud to say that it was an overall success, and Victor, who’s dying to appear here, because he somehow thinks that being mentioned here is the first step to stardom, declared that “it [was] very good” (he actually said something much more inspired, but I neglected to take note of it in the midst of an orgy of quiche, waffles and nutella, so I apologize to the world for forgetting what was surely an undeniable gem.)
Spinach and cheese strata
Prep time: 30 minutes + 12 hours chill
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves 6 to 8
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 onions
- 3-4 cups fresh spinach
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- 12 slices white bread
- ~2 cups grated Gruyere
- ~ 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 5 eggs
- 2/3 cup milk
- pepper, to taste
1. Chop the onion. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add onions and sauté for 5-8 minutes, until soft. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the spinach, cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. Butter a baking dish. Cut the bread in quarters, then layer the bottom of the dish with bread. Top with 1/2 the spinach mixture, 1/2 of the Gruyere and Parmesan. Repeat the layers one more time.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and milk until blended. Season to taste. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
4. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover and bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden. Wait 5 minutes before serving.
- I used sliced bread, but you can use French or Italian bread, or any variety you prefer.
- I only made two layers of each ingredient, but depending on the size and depth of your baking dish, you may choose to do more.