This Italian-style layered casserole is fabulous for brunch, and it’s a great make-ahead dish
Spinach, Cheese, and Ham Strata
One 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 or 9 cups 1-inch cubes French or Italian bread
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
1 cup diced ham
8 large eggs
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Butter a 9-by-12-inch baking dish.
- Squeeze handfuls of the spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then roughly chop.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the spinach, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir for 1 minute, then remove from heat.
- Spread half the bread cubes in the prepared baking dish. Top evenly with half the spinach mixture. Sprinkle with half the ham and half the cheese. Repeat the layering, ending with cheese.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the milk, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk until blended. Pour the custard evenly over the strata. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight, or until the bread has absorbed the custard.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and let the strata stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Bake the strata, uncovered for 45 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Cut into squares and serve from the same baking dish.
Makes 8 servings
MAKE IT Y OUR OWN
Try adding one or more of the following: crumbled cooked bacon, sautéed sliced mushrooms, chopped plum tomatoes, cooked broccoli florets, shredded cooked chicken, blanched asparagus pieces, caramelized onions, sautéed zucchini, minced fresh rosemary. Instead of Gruyère cheese, use shredded Swiss, Fontina, or sharp Cheddar cheese.