Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Simple Summer Supper

I always think of strata as a great brunch dish and not so much a supper dish. When I came across this recipe, I really wanted to try it and DID NOT expect the rave reviews from the kids that it received. The best thing about a strata is that the prep is easy and it's done the night before. Really nice on a busy summer day. A perfect meal and all you have to do is bake it and toss a salad. Adding a handful of baby tomatoes and a little glass of wine wouldn't hurt either.

Herbed Spinach and Goat Cheese Strata

10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed.
1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 t. salt, divided
coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
8 c. ciabatta, cubed
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 3/4 c. milk
8 eggs
2 T. whole grain mustard
2 t. fresh rosemary, minced
1 T. fresh thyme, minced

Place thawed spinach in a colander and squeeze out the excess water. Sometimes I wrap it in a flour sack towel to get it really dry. A potato ricer works nicely for this as well.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened. Add 1/4 t. salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in spinach and remove from the heat.

Toss the bread cubes, spinach mixture and cheeses together in a large bowl. Place the mixture in a buttered 13x9 baking dish or 3 quart gratin dish.

Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard and herbs. Add 1/4 t. salt and pepper. Pour evenly over bread mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the strata from the oven and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap and bake, uncovered, about 45 minutes until puffed and golden brown and throroughly cooked.

Served 10 (my family of 6 didn't come near to finishing it - cut it in half for a smaller family)

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