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seasonal RECIPES for those who love to EAT
"Strata" is just a fancy way of saying layers - as in layers of delicious flavor. The concept is similar to a lasagna or casserole. I have never loved casseroles since they tend to wind up a gooey, unidentifiable mess of who-knows-what. A strata, on the other hand, is a colorful work of art - a tempting, yummy blend of ingredients that layer beautifully, but still remain recognizable. You can use any kind of bread you like, add extra veggies or even sliced meat like ham or turkey, and mix up the cheeses to suit your taste. It can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated, so all you have to do is pop it in the oven, and it’s a great brunch option.
1 tbsp. Olive oil
2 Large sweet yellow onions; sliced thinly
2 to 4 cloves Fresh garlic; minced finely
1 c. Crimini mushrooms; thinly sliced
2 c. Baby spinach
1 loaf Crusty French bread
2 c. Cheddar cheese; finely shredded
1 1/2 c. Whole milk
4 Large eggs
4 c. Mixed greens
1/4 c. Balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the rack in the center position. Coat a deep 8-inch or 9-inch square glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Add the onions and sauté, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes or until softened and browning. Add the garlic and cook another 2 to 3 minutes more, remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.
3. Return the pan to the heat and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes over high heat until the mushrooms soften and begin releasing their liquid.
4. Add the spinach and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, until leaves are wilted. Remove from the heat and drain.
5. Cut the bread into slices approximately 1/2 inch thick; you’ll need enough slices to make two full layers in the baking dish (between 8 and 12 slices). Spread a thin layer of mustard on one side of each slice.
6. Arrange one layer of bread in the bottom of the baking dish, mustard side up. Layer 1/2 cup of the cheese, then the onions, another 1/2 cup of cheese, the mushrooms and spinach, and another 1/2 cup of cheese. Top
with the second layer of bread, mustard side down.
7. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly scrambled. Whisk in the milk and then more the mixture evenly into the baking dish.
8. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until the center is set. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
9. While the strata cools, place the mixed greens in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar; add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the greens and toss to coat evenly.
10. Serve the strata warm, accompanied with a generous helping of the dressed greens.