Spinach, Feta and Parmesan Strata

by Valerie on March 25, 2009 · 0 comments

Welcome to What’s Cooking Wednesday – as always be sure to check out WCW’s home over at Shan’s blog.

I am a big fan of trying to cook with leftovers and odds and end as much as possible. One of the things I always seem to have is leftover chunks of onions (has anyone noticed how large onions are these days) and leftover stale bread. So I hunted for a savory brunch strata recipe. I found this one on MyRecipes.com – of course I did not have half of the ingredients, but was able to come up with this adaptation below.

A quick aside – if you need recipes or just inspiration for a healthier dish, you should check out MyRecipes.com. I find I have better luck with MyRecipes.com than with Epicurious.com or even the Food Network website when I need healthier options, likely because MyRecipes.com culls recipes from several magazines including Cooking Light and Health. They also include recipes from Real Simple which has very healthy recipes and in recent years has started including nutritional information. Plus, I always seem to find that when I am in a rush, MyRecipes.com just seems to run very fast for a large online food portal – some of the other big ones get slow in comparison.

But back to what I ended up putting together – the resulting strata was pretty darn tasty. We had it for brunch on a Saturday with some yummy Cibola Farms buffalo and pork chipotle sausage, and had the leftovers for dinner on Monday night with a green salad. The leftovers microwaved beautifully by the way.

Spinach, Feta and Parmesan Strata

4 cups stale bread, torn or cut into cubes (mine were about 1 inch cubes, but I also had sliced bread)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, separated
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed (be sure to squeeze out the extra moisture)
Salt and pepper
2 ounces feta cheese
½ to 1 cup shredded Parmesan (Asiago or Pecorino would work too – and shredded would work better than the shavings I used which you can see on the picture)
11/2 cups milk (skim milk worked fine)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

If your stale bread isn’t crispy stale, then preheat oven to 350° and place bread pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add spinach; cook another 5-10 minutes and add salt and pepper. Place half of bread in bottom of a 8 x 8 baking dish coated with a touch of extra virgin olive oil (CGL note: the casserole dish I used is about 8×8 but it’s deep – it’s about 3 inches high on the sides). Spread spinach mixture over bread. Add 2 ounces of feta and ½ cup of the parmesan. Top with remaining bread. Combine milk, eggs, mustard, and oregano, stirring well with a whisk. Pour over bread; sprinkle with remaining parmesan (I only added about another ¼ cup, but you could have added more). Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight (CGL Note – I chilled this overnight, but according to reviews on the recipe, even just a half hour wait is sufficient). Preheat oven to 350°.
Uncover strata; bake at 350° for 40 minutes and see if it is lightly browned and set. It may be, but if not, cover and bake another 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

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