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Author Notes: Perfect for hosting a large brunch or when you're just too lazy to do much other than pad downstairs and pop something in the oven, say hello to the make-ahead strata. It’s basically savory bread pudding and tastes like a quiche and a frittata made sweet love and popped out a delicious cheesy, crusty, eggy baby. Prep everything the night before and bake it the next morning. Easy as pie. Or strata.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/12/spinach-and-cheese-strata/) —Shea
- 1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 dashes ground black pepper
- 1 dash ground nutmeg
- 1 loaf ciabatta, cubed
- 1 cup gruyere, grated
- 1 cup sharp white cheddar, grated
- 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 8 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cube ciabatta and spread in one layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until lightly toasted and dried out. Set out until cooled to room temperature.
- Thaw spinach in microwave and remove all excess liquid. (My handy method is to wrap it in one million paper towels and wring it out.) Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, dash of pepper and continue cooking for one minute. Stir in spinach, remove from heat and set aside.
- Grease baking dish with remaining tablespoon of butter. Spread half of the bread cubes in the dish and top with half of spinach mixture and half of cheese. Repeat layering with remaining bread, spinach and cheese. Whisk eggs, milk, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and another dash of pepper in a large bowl and pour over the strata, making sure to cover it evenly.
- Cover strata with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat the oven to 350°F. While the oven heats up, set out the strata to let it come up to room temperature, about 30-45 minutes. Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven until golden brown and cooked through, approximately 50 minutes. To get it extra crispy on top, broil for 1-2 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Eat, sip your mimosa and help yourself to seconds. As an added bonus, the strata reheats really well in the microwave the next day.
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