I am in love with strata. I have made this recipe for brunch with friends, and again for Christmas morning. I have used Trish Magwood’s recipe from her book In My Mother’s Kitchen. The recipe is delicious! I also highly recommend the book, and her previous book Dish Entertains.
Note that for a strata you need to prepare it in advance and then let it sit for 6-8 hours or overnight. For Christmas morning I prepared it at night, and then popped it in the oven as soon as we woke up. It is lovely! Who can go wrong with baked baguette, ham, egg, cheese and spinach?
The published recipe in the book (also posted on the Canadian Family website) is for a 9 x 13 casserole dish and would definitely feed a crowd. I halved the recipe for an 8 x 8 baking dish and it is more than enough for 4-6 servings especially when served with some other brunch sides. Leftovers are equally delicious as well!
Here is my adapted recipe for an 8 x 8 baking dish (serves 4-6):
- 1 tablespoon or margarine or butter
- 1/2 a medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 6 ounces of ham, cut into small pieces
- 3 cups of fresh baby spinach, washed and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup of grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 a baguette, cut into 1″ cubes (will yield approximately 4 cups)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups of milk
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- A pinch of cayenne
- A few grinds of freshly ground pepper
- Butter your 8 x 8 baking dish and set aside
- In a frying pan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add finely chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the ham and cook lightly for 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the baby spinach. Use a pair of tongs to incorporate the spinach with the onion. The spinach will then start to wilt with the heat from the pan.
- Mix the Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses together in a small bowl.
- Place half of the baguette cubes in the baking dish, top with half of the spinach mixture and half of the cheese. Repeat with the last of the bread, spinach and the cheese.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, Dijon, dry mustard, salt, nutmeg, cayenne and black pepper. Pour evenly over strata.
- Cover and refrigerate the strata for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight.
- Remove the strata from the fridge while you preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Uncover the strata and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the bread is golden and eggs are completely set. Let stand a few minutes before serving.