Ok. It’s done. Fall is here. School is in. Football is on. Elastic pants are cleaned and ready for wear. Here come the holidays.
This time of year is so great because even when it’s not officially a holiday, people are in the mood to get together and celebrate. Football game? Sure! Back to school!? Why not? Haven’t seen you in awhile but we should all get together to gorge!? Fantastic!
But, then, THEN, you remember: you have kids. Which means you have to either get a babysitter (which costs more than your night out) OR include them – neither altogether ideal options for evening entertainment.
Hence, my recent conversion to Brunch Lover. I used to feel like brunch gatherings got in the way of my “productivity.” Now, I realize it is literally the IDEAL way to entertain - kids or no. You get to eat sweet and savory foods, drink alcohol before noon, and still have time to do whatever other shit you had planned for your day off because everyone is fed and kitchen cleaned by 1pm! PLUS, if you DO have children, your kids are still the sweet morning/early afternoon kids you adore, not the 5pm vertically challenged psychopaths you fear. Can you taste the genius?
Ah, but I hear you saying, “Sarah! Wait! There’s a catch! Someone has to get out of bed early to MAKE all that food you’re about to serve. What about that lazy Sunday?!!!”
And to that I say, “NOT TRUUUUE!”
Here’s why: Strata
Yup. Simple. Delicious. And totally do-ahead. Plus, filled with chunks of bread, so, I mean, right?? I have a few in my back pocket, but there is one in particular that always wins beacoup de compliments. Add some fresh fruit, a champagne cocktail and get someone else to bring dessert. Breakfast + Lunch is served!
Spinach and Cheese Strata
Serves 6 to 8
10 oz fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 Tlbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (1/2 lb)
6 ounces grated Gruyère (2 cups)
2 ounces finely grated parmesan (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Sauté onion in butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking for 30 seconds. Add spinach, sautéing until wilted and liquid has evaporated.
Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk, mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl. Make sure to whisk well or the Dijon will sort of accumulate at the bottom. Set aside.
Spread one third of the bread cubes in a prepared 3-quart gratin dish or other ceramic baking dish. Top with one-third of spinach mixture and one-third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, spinach and cheese. Finally, pour egg mixture over strata.
Cover with plastic wrap, pressing bread cubes lightly into the egg to ensure all have been moistened. Then, chill strata for eat least 8 hours or up to a day.
The next day, let it stand at room temperature for 30-60 minutes while preheating the oven to 350°F. Place your oven rack on the middle rung. Bake strata, uncovered, until puffy, golden brown, and cooked through, about 50-55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Adapted from SmittenKitchen.com