Spinach, Mushroom And Fontina Strata

Spinach, Mushroom and Fontina Strata recipeStrata is the perfect brunch dish.  It is a sort of savory, egg-y, bread pudding. I had never had it before, and it may be my new favorite thing to eat for brunch.  You make the strata the night ahead of time, some magic happens in the fridge overnight, and then you bake the strata into something melty and mouthwateringly delicious. With Christmas just a week away, have you started planning your menus?  If you haven't, I highly recommend considering this strata for your Christmas Day brunch.  You can take it out of the fridge and pop it into the oven to bake while you open gifts. Easy peasy.  It will fill the house with delicious aromas while it bakes. Plus it is filled with delicious spinach, mushrooms, and gooey Fontina cheese.  Fontina is probably one of my favorite cheeses to cook with - it melts perfectly.  You could also adapt this recipe by adding some sausage or switching up the cheese or veggies to suit your tastes. 

A few other brunch ideas:  Cinnamon Rolls, Gougeres, Fruit Salad with Limoncello, Bloody Mary / Caesar Bar

Spinach, Mushroom, and Fontina Strata

Adapted from Martha Stewart

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
2 pounds spinach, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus extra for buttering the dish
5 ounces cremini mushrooms
Sourdough loaf (pre-sliced)
8 ounces young Italian fontina cheese, grated, divided
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/3 cup), divided
8 large eggs, divided
2 2/3 cups whole milk, divided

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Fill pan with as much spinach as will fit; cook, stirring, adding remainder a handful at a time as space allows. When all the spinach is wilted, stir in pepper and nutmeg. Drain spinach in a sieve. When cool enough to handle, squeeze excess moisture from spinach by hand.  Wipe the pan clean, then melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until golden brown.

Butter a 3-quart baking dish. Place a third of the bread in a single layer in dish. Top with half the spinach mixture, half the mushrooms, and a third of the cheeses. Repeat layering with a third of the bread, remaining spinach mixture, and a third of the cheeses, then top with remaining bread.

Whisk together 6 eggs, 2 cups milk, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and carefully pour over bread. Cover with parchment, and gently press down with hands until egg mixture soaks through top of bread. Cover parchment with foil, and refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, remove strata from refrigerator, uncover, and let stand 30 minutes. Whisk together remaining 2 eggs and 2/3 cup milk, and pour over strata, gently pressing between layers of bread with a spoon or spatula to ensure that egg mixture seeps to bottom. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake until puffed and golden brown in places, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.