August 5, 2011

Recipe | Spinach Cheese Strata

I have close to 50 cookbooks at home. Seriously. For some reason I have a thing for cookbooks and buy them often for inspiration or simply because they're pretty to look at. I will admit that that it's on the rarest of occasions that I actually attempt making recipes from those cookbooks. As I mentioned before, I generally don't have the time to cook or shop for ingredients and often order in or cook the same meals over and over again.

Spinach Cheese Strata
Recipe and Photo Credit: Annie's Eats

After a conversation with and some encouragement from a very dear friend of mine, I've decided to attempt at least one new recipe each weekend. This weekend I've decided to treat myself to a luxuriously lazy Sunday morning at home and will bake this Spinach Cheese Strata for brunch. I was introduced to this recipe by sugarpie project on Pinterest, which in turn led me to the wonderful Annie's Eats food blog where I found the full recipe. The genius of the recipe is you do the prep the night before and bake it in the morning, which means my Sunday morning will still be easy.

Here's the recipe:

Spinach and Cheese Strata from Annie's Eats
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1½ cups onion, finely chopped
2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 tsp. salt, divided
½ tsp. pepper, divided
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 oz. coarsely grated Gruyere (about 2 cups)
2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 2/3 cup)
9 large eggs
2¾ cup milk

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions to the pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and the nutmeg, and continue to cook for 1 minute more.  Stir in the spinach, remove from the heat and set aside.

Butter the inside of a 2½-3 quart baking dish.  Layer the bottom of the dish with one third of the bread cubes. Top with one third of the spinach mixture and one third of each of the cheeses. Repeat these layers twice more with the bread, spinach and cheese.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, the remaining ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper.  Whisk together until blended.  Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach layered in the baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Bake uncovered until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, 45-55 minutes.  Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

I'll let you all know how it goes on twitter. If you decide to try this recipe as well, please let me know how it turns out in the comments!

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