This strata is a brunch staple. Ever since I began to host brunches in my spacious Beijing one-bedroom and later my cozy (read: teensy) Manhattan one-bedroom, I have made this nearly every time in one form or another.I used to make this strata recipe from Williams Sonoma, and I sometimes still do. As you can tell from the quantities of cheese and half-and-half, it is divine.
If you want to make something (marginally) lighter and/or pork-free, I have found that this recipe from Gourmet makes people just as happy.
One of the delightful things about this and some of my other brunch favorites is: you can make it the day before and then sleep in! Just take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before baking time.
♫ Music pairing: make room for squares of this. ♫
Click to listen: Hank Mobley – “No Room for Squares”
- 1 (10-oz) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 8 cups cubed (1 inch) French or Italian bread (1/2 lb)
- 6 oz coarsely grated gruyère (2 cups)
- 2 oz finely grated parmigiano-reggiano (1 cup). If you don’t have this on hand, extra gruyère works just fine.
- 2 3/4 cups milk
- 9 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- Cook onion in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in spinach, then remove from heat.
- Spread one third of bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other shallow ceramic baking dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).
- Whisk together the milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Chill strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 8 hours for optimum deliciousness absorption.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Let strata stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
- Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving, if your friends let you.