Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spinach and Cheddar Strata

We hadn't seen Ryan's parents in a while so I suggested he invite them over for a Sunday brunch.  I've always loved brunch.  In college, Saturday and Sunday brunch were the most tolerable of all the meals the dining commons had to offer.  In fact, I'd even venture as far as to say it was good, and that is a high compliment.  Over the years brunch has been relegated to a weekend affair, and occasionally I feel inspired to make a production out of it.  For this brunch I modified Martha Stewart's Spinach and Cheddar Strata and served a Lemon Yogurt Cake with blueberry sauce for dessert.  Ryan's mom brought a lovely fruit salad to round out the menu, and we enjoyed a delicious Prosecco which was a refreshing compliment to everything.




Serves 4

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 ounces fresh spinach
3 cups day-old bread cubes (1 inch) (Baguettes make excellent bread cubes for this)
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 1/4 cups shredded sharp white cheddar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt 
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add spinach and sautee until the spinach is wilted, about 2-4 minutes. Stir the spinach frequently while cooking so it doesn't burn.
  3. Transfer the cooked spinach to a colander and drain, pressing with a spatula to release as much liquid as possible. 
  4. Place bread cubes and spinach in a 9x13 rectangular casserole dish lightly greased with olive oil or any casserole dish that will hold at least 1.75 quarts.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and 3/4 cup cheese. Pour mixture in to the casserole dish over the bread cubes and spinach.  Top with 1/2 cup cheese. 
  6. Bake approximately 45-55 minutes or until the middle of the casserole is solidified, and the top has started to brown.

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