Friday, May 1, 2015

Recipe: Spinach Strata

Spring is finally here!  And while there are still winter storage vegetables left to use there are also new vegetables becoming available weekly.
Spinach is one of this year’s first spring vegetables and we’ve been loving having it.  It’s an easy one to throw into whatever you’re having for dinner, either fresh or cooked.
In this dish it is just one of many flavours present, accompanied by sautéed mushrooms, onions, carrots, and a bit of bacon.  And everything in this dish is available from Baileys! 
A strata is sort of like a frittata combined with French toast.  You chop up stale bread, throw it in a casserole dish with vegetables and some meat (if you like), and cover everything with a mixture of eggs and milk.  Then you refrigerate it for a day or more allowing the stale bread to soak up much of the egg mixture.  When baked it takes on a bread pudding sort of consistency—very custardy—but in this case nothing like a dessert thanks to the savoury vegetables.

Spinach Strata
2-4 slices of bacon (optional, otherwise use oil to fry veggies)
½ onion, sliced thinly
½ lb mushrooms, chopped
½ carrot, sliced into very thin sticks, or grated
Several handfuls of spinach, roughly ¼ - ½ lb (or more!), chopped
Salt and pepper, herbs
½ loaf of stale or several-days-old bread, chopped into 1 inch pieces
8 eggs
2 cups milk (or mixture of milk and cream)
½ cup grated cheese (your choice, but something on the stronger side is nice)
Heat a frying pan or skillet and fry the bacon.  (If omitting the bacon heat oil in the pan).  Once the bacon is finished cooking remove it and chop it up (leaving the bacon grease for frying).  Add the onions, mushrooms, and carrots and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the veggies are nicely caramelized and the mushrooms have released some of their juices.
Add the spinach and salt and pepper and fry for another minute or two, until the spinach is wilted.  Mix together the eggs and milk.  Put the chopped bread into a 9x13 casserole dish, add the cooked veggies and chopped bacon, and pour the egg and milk mixture over everything.  It’s okay if some of the ingredients are not covered completely with the egg mixture.  Top with grated cheese, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. 
Preheat the oven to 350◦F.  Bake the strata uncovered for 30-35 minutes, until lightly browned on top.  Let the strata sit for about 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with different garnishes to add some more colour and interest, like salsa, hot sauce, sour cream and chives, etc.

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