GRUYERE AND SPINACH STRATA (for six to eight)
one 10 ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped (1-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ pound French or Italian bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (8 cups)
2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere (about 6 ounces)
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2 ounces)
2-3/4 cups whole milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible. Finely chop.
- Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in spinach, then remove from heat.
- Butter a 3-quart gratin dish or other shallow baking dish. Spread one third of bread cubes in 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 milk, eggs, mustard, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Pour evenly over strata. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 8 hours to allow bread to absorb custard.
- Let strata stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350*.
- Bake strata, uncovered, until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, about 55 minutes . Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
NOTE: The strata can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking. To make a strata Lorraine, add 8 ounces diced ham along with the spinach in step 2.
adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook