There is nothing better than waking up on a lazy morning and having breakfast already assembled and ready to go. The only you need to do is turn on the oven and let it bake. And a strata is a great recipe for doing just that. Strata is a type of bread pudding that can be either savory or sweet. This is a great basic recipe and a perfect way to use leftover ingredients and day old bread. You can substitute a variety of ingredients in this recipe such as portobello and onion, red and yellow peppers or sausage, and a good melting cheese. It should be prepared in advance, even the night before, as it needs to refrigerate for several hours before baking so the bread can soak up the custard.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 medium onion, thinly sliced
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh spinach
1 tablespoon finely minced flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups Challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 ounces swiss cheese, diced
1 egg white
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
1. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Cook onion until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach and cook for another 2 minutes, until spinach is just wilted. Stir in parsley and set aside.
2. Place a 16-ounce souffle dish on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Butter all sides of souffle dish. Add half of cubed bread to dish, followed by half of spinach mixture. Top with half of swiss cheese and repeat, ending with cheese.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Gently pour over strata, making sure to completely cover bread. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove strata from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Bake strata, uncovered until puffed and slightly golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Check halfway, and cover with aluminum foil if top is getting too browned. Serve warm.