Prep 1 hr 30 mins
Cook 1 hr
Strata are easy and transform stale bread and leftover vegetables into an elegant pseudo-souffle! We first tried strata as newlyweds, working from a Sunset cookbook "Cooking for Two" and have since tried many variations. Here's a recent take.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 (10 ounce) boxes frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 1⁄2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 8 ounces feta cheese
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 loaf French bread, cubed
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Heat butter and olive oil in a small saute pan. Add sweet onion, a generous dash of salt, and several grinds of fresh black pepper. Cook slowly over low heat until onions are nicely caramelized.
- Meanwhile, quarter, stem and seed the bell pepper, being sure to cut away any white pith. Place the pepper quarters skin side up under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the skin is beginning to char. Remove peppers to a closed container or a bowl with a plate across it. Once cool enough to handle, slough off the skin and dice the pepper.
- Squeeze as much moisture out of the thawed spinach as possible. In a wide bowl, combine spinach, cilantro, caramelized onion, diced roasted pepper and any collected pepper juices until evenly mixed. Gently stir in feta.
- In a separate bowl or small pitcher, whisk together eggs and milk. If desired, add a tablespoon of grainy mustard or a teaspoon of prepared horseradish, along with additional ground black pepper, into the custard.
- Spray a large deep lidded casserole with cooking spray. Spray the edges of the lid as well. Spread half of the bread cubes across the bottom. Arrange spinach mixture over bread to cover, all the way out to the edges. Top spinach with shredded cheese and then remaining bread cubes.
- Slowly pour the custard mixture evenly over the strata, moving in concentric circles. Cover strata and refrigerate at least one hour and up to one day.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake strata, covered, 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and allow to stand 5 - 10 minutes.
We made this tonight and enjoyed it. I would make a few changes the next time though. First I would not add cilantro, the flavor just did not work well with the rest of the flavors. Second I would not make two layers, the bread on my top layer did not get saturated with the egg mixture and was hard.