This recipe for Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Gruyere is a lot like lasagna--lots of parts that then get put together and baked--but it is SO worth it! The aroma as it's baking is divine, and it's fabulous for a brunch or holiday breakfast. Note that you can make a small batch or one that feeds up to 18 people. The leftovers re-heat nicely in the microwave. You can make this well in advance, bake, pair with some sausage or muffins, and breakfast for a crowd is ready. Tip: thaw the spinach completely in a colander in a bowl; then use a salad spinner to get out the remaining moisture. Click here for a printer-friendly pdf version.
Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Gruyere
The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
8-10 (1/2 inch thick) slices French or Italian bread (6-7 oz.)
5 T. unsalted butter, softened
4 medium shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
salt & ground black pepper
1/2 c. medium-dry wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
6 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 c.)
6 large eggs
1 3/4 c. half-and-half
8 x 8 baking dish
16-20 slices of bread
10 T. butter
20 oz. spinach
salt & pepper
1 c. wine
12 oz. Gruyere
3 1/2 c. half-and-half
9 x13 baking dish
24-30 slices of bread
15 T. butter
30 oz. spinach
salt & pepper
1 1/2 c. wine
18 oz. Gruyere
5 1/4 c. half-and-half
11 x 17 baking dish
(directions are given for single recipe; amounts for double/triple recipe are in parentheses)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees. Arrange bread in single layer on large baking sheet and bake until dry and crisp, about 40 minutes, turning slices over halfway through drying time. (Alternatively, leave slices out overnight to dry.) When cooled, butter slices on one side with 2 (4/6) tablespoons butter; set aside.
Heat 2 (4/6) tablespoons butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Saute shallots until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes; add spinach and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, until combined, about 2 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl; set aside. Add wine to skillet, increase heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup (1/2 cup/3/4 cup); set aside.
Butter baking dish with remaining butter; arrange half of buttered bread slices, buttered side up, in single layer in dish. Sprinkle half of spinach mixture, then 1/2 cup (1 cup/1 1/2 cups) of grated cheese evenly over bread slices. Arrange remaining bread slices in single layer over cheese; sprinkle remaining spinach mixture and another 1/2 cup (1 cup/1 1/2 cups) of cheese evenly over bread. Whisk eggs in medium bowl until combined; whisk in reduced wine, half-and-half, 1 teaspoon (2 tsp./3 tsp.) salt, and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread layers; cover surface flush with plastic wrap, weigh down, and refrigerate at least one hour or up to overnight. (Weighing down presses the bread into the egg mixture, making sure all the bread gets soaked and stays moist while baking rather than drying out. To do this, place another baking dish on top of the plastic wrap and place several heavy cans on top until the cream mixture comes to the top of the bread—I used 3-4 22-oz cans of pineapple!)
Remove dish from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Uncover strata and sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over the surface; bake until both edges and center are puffed and edges have pulled away slightly from sides of dish, 50 to 55 minutes (or about 60 minutes for doubled recipe). Cool on wire rack 5 minutes; serve.
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Bottger Mansion of Old Town Bed & Breakfast
Old Town Albuquerque