Spinach, Mushroom, Tomato and Cheese Strata


Here is another delicious breakfast strata.  Instead of using the prosciutto and pesto, I used sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms.  This is perfect for the brunch table and hearty enough to serve to your girlfriends in the evening, paired with a nice big green salad.  Your vegetarian friends will love you for making it meatless.  Quite honestly, I don’t think anyone will even notice.


 Chop the sundried tomatoes, then drain them on a paper towel.  I prefer the sundried tomatoes that have been marinating in olive oil.  They are a little more flavorful, but you do need to make sure that they are drained well.


Chop the fresh spinach.


In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter, then add half of the minced shallots and half of the minced garlic.  Saute for about 1 or 2 minutes.


Add in the chopped spinach.  Stir well to coat with the butter.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.


Once the spinach is wilted, put into a colander to drain any excess liquid.  Set aside.


In same skillet melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add the remaining shallots and garlic and saute for a minute.  Add in the mushrooms.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Stir well, saute for about 10 minutes on medium heat.  Once there is no more liquid in pan and the mushrooms are soft, remove from heat and set aside.


Now we start to layer.  Lightly spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.  Layer the bread (without any overlapping or crowding) on the bottom of the pan.  Top with the spinach and the sun-dried tomatoes.


Now l ayer with the mushrooms.


Sprinkle the freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.


Ending the middle layer with 3/4 cup of Gruyere cheese.  You could even use a little bit of tomato and basil flavored feta cheese and a sprinkling of pine nuts here, too. 

Be creative.

Play with your food!


Top with remaining bread.


And the rest of the Gruyere cheese.


In a medium bowl whisk together the milk and the eggs.


Evenly pour over the top of the strata.


Top strata with the freshly sliced tomatoes.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Cover strata with foil and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.  When ready to bake be sure to take out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before.  Then pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until set in the middle and lightly golden brown on top.  Let sit for about 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven.  Slice and serve.

This delicious and savory strata will be the hit of your gathering.

Spinach, Mushroom, Tomato and Cheese Strata
Serves 12

1 (10-oz) package fresh spinach, chopped
1 small shallot
4 cups chopped mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
16 oz. French or Italian bread, cubed
2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 cup milk, heavy cream or half-and-half
9 large eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 fresh tomatoes, slice 12 slices

In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter, add half of the shallots and half of the minced garlic.  Saute for about 1 minute.  Add the chopped spinach and saute on medium high heat.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Once the spinach has wilted, remove from heat and place into a colander to drain excess liquids.  In same skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter, add remaining shallots and garlic.  Saute for 1 minute.  Add in the chopped mushrooms.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Saute for about 10 minutes on medium high  heat.  Once they are soft, remove from heat and set aside.

Cute your loaf of bread.  Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.  Evenly layer out half of the cubed bread.  Top with the sauteed spinach, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and sauteed mushrooms.  Sprinkle 1 cup of Parmesan cheese on top, then sprinkle about 3/4 cup of the Gruyere.  Top with the remaining cubed bread, sprinkle with remaining Gruyere cheese.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, cream/milk, Dijon mustard and a little bit of salt and pepper.  Whisk well.  Pour the egg mixture on top of the strata, evenly distributing.  Top the strata with the fresh tomatoes, creating four rows of three slices.  Chill strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb custard).

Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before you are ready to bake.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

 

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