Have you seen the movie The Family Stone? I love it. I file it under the category title “movies that make me sob uncontrollably but I watch every time they’re on TV”, right along with Stepmom and P.S. I Love You. I can’t hear the phrase “breakfast strata” without thinking of S.J.P and the neurotic woman she plays so well in Family Stone. Turns out strata is just a fancy name for breakfast casserole! I hosted dinner club “brunch” a few Sundays ago and was asking around for a best-ever-breakfast-casserole (by asking around I mean I asked my mom and Pinterest). I wasn’t convinced with my findings so I brought out my big ATK cookbook and as always, wasn’t disappointed.
Loved the look of this recipe. I don’t love when breakfast casseroles contain everything and anything (I don’t want hash browns in there, or meat). I have lately found that the best way to serve bacon is just, bacon. So the strata was served over a bed of lemony arugula with strips of bacon on the side and some simple scones. Made a very pretty plate and the casserole had great flavor (concentrated white wine will do that to a recipe).
Breakfast Strata with Shallot and Spinach
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
1 loaf french or Italian bread (long and thin), sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
8 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 (10 oz) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
1 c. dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Chardonnay)
3 c. grated Swiss cheese
12 large eggs
3 1/2 c. half and half
1. Heat oven to 225 degrees and spread bread on baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes, flipping the slices over half way through, until dry and crisp (you can also leave them out at room temperature overnight).
2. Let bread cool and butter one side of each slice with softened butter.
3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots along with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
4. Add spinach and stir to combine. Scrape mixture into mixing bowl and add wine to pan. Over medium high heat, simmer wine until it’s reduced to about 1/2 cup.
5. Meanwhile, whisk eggs and half and half in a large mixing bowl. Add wine (if hot, whisk constantly while adding in a thin stream) along with remaining 1 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
6. Use remaining butter to grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Spread half of the bread slices, butter side up, into pan.
7. Top with 1/2 of the spinach mixture. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over spinach mixture.
8. Repeat – bread slices, spinach, cheese. You should have about 1 c. of cheese remaining – store in a container in the fridge. Pour egg mixture over top, evenly and carefully.
9. Cover casserole with plastic wrap pressed snugly against the surface. Place in the fridge and cover with something heavy add weight (I used a small cutting board and a small saucepan).
10. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle reserved 1 c. cheese over top. Bake, uncovered, for 60-70 minutes or until puffed and golden. Let sit about five minutes and serve.