Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Breakfast Strata

This was fantastically delicious.  I had too many eggs so I wanted to make an "egg dish" for dinner... Mac and I both looked forward to the leftovers every breakfast after until it was eaten up!

Cal per serving: 340
Fat: 18g
Cholesterol: 255 mg
Carbs: 23 g
Protein: 16 g
Fiber:  g
Sodium: 1050mg

I'll try not to make this too much a novel, but I think some of the key steps have really interesting points:

  1. Use bread cubes and toast them: Strata is traditionally made with layers of sliced bread... dried bread cubes of bread don't overwhelm the texture of the custard and allow the strata to souffle slightly.
  2. Toss the bread with the custard: Whereas traditional stratas are built in layers, Test Kitchen found it best to toss everything together to make sure the bread gets evenly soaked through.
  3. Weight the strata and let it rest: It is important to press it and let it sit for at least an hour to give the bread time to absorb the custard.  Using a zippie full of dry beans or sugar is a great weight.  It can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking; the longer it rests, the more flavorful it will be.
  4. Use a flavorful and lower-fat cheese: Replacing cheddar with feta helps cut a lot of fat and calories without sacrificing flavor.
*DO NOT substitute oil for the butter or lowfat/skim milk... they are both important for the richness of this dish*

1/2 loaf supermarket french/italian bread cut into 1/2" cubes (4 cups)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped coarse
1/2 c. dry white wine (I used 1/4 c. chicken broth and skipped the wine step in #2)
6 large eggs
1 3/4 c. whole milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
8 oz. sliced white mushrooms plus 1/4 tsp. salt (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 275.  Bake bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet until thoroughly dry and crisp, 30-40 minutes.

2. Melt the butter in a 10" nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and mushrooms (if using) and cook, covered until the mushrooms have released their liquid, about 7 minutes.  Uncover and continue to cook until the pan is dry and the mushrooms are well browned, about 10 minutes longer. [if leaving out mushrooms, cook the onion for 5 minutes, uncovered].
Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the spinach and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl.  Add the wine to the skillet and reduce to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes; set aside to cool separately.

3.  Lightly oil an 8" square baking dish.  Whisk the eggs, reduced wine, milk, salt, and pepper together.  Stir in the spinach mixture, 1 cup of the feta, and the dried bread cubes until well combined.  Pour the mixture into the baking dish, cover with plastic wrap.  Weight the strata down with a large zippie full of sugar or dry beans.  Refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours.

4.  When ready to bake, heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Remove the weight from the strata, let stand at room temp for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with the remaining feta.  Bake until the surface is puffed and the edges pull away slightly from the dish, 50 to 55 minutes.