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Spinach and Gruyere Version – Double Recipe
Ingredients (makes one 8 x 12 inch strata)
- · 10 – 12 slices supermarket French or Italian Bread
- · 10 Tbl butter
- · 8 medium shallots, minced (about 1/2 of a cup)
- · 2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- · Salt and ground black pepper
- · 1 cup medium-dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
- · 12 bounces Gruyere cheese, grated
- · 12 large eggs
- · 3 ½ cups half and half
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees. Arrange bread in a single layer on large baking sheet and bake 20 minutes and flip. Bake 20 minutes more until bread is dry and crisp. Set aside to cool. (Alternative option: leave slices out overnight to dry.) When cooled, butter slices on one side using 4 tablespoons of butter; set aside.
Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté shallots until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes; add spinach and salt and pepper to taste. Stir occasionally, until spinach and shallots are combined, about 2 minutes. Transfer spinach mixture to medium bowl; set aside. Add wine to skillet, increase heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced to ¼ cup, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Butter 8 x 12 -inch rectangular baking dish with remaining 2 tablespoons butter; arrange half the buttered bread slices, buttered-side up, in a single layer in the dish (can cut bread to fit). Sprinkle half of the spinach mixture over the layer of bread. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese on top of the spinach mixture. Arrange remaining bread slices in single layer over cheese. Sprinkle remaining spinach mixture and then another 1/2 cup of cheese evenly over bread.
Whisk eggs in medium bowl until combined; whisk in cooled reduced wine mixture, half and half, 1 tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread layers; cover surface flush with plastic wrap. Place boxes of sugar or cake mixes on top of plastic wrap. (Intent here is to press down lightly on the mixture so all the ingredients are covered in the egg mixture.) Refrigerate overnight.
Remove dish from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Uncover strata and add remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake until both edges and center are puffed and edges have slightly pulled away from the side of the baking dish, 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Enjoy and make often. Preferably with the Sausage version. It's hard to decide which version is better.
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