Friday, September 16, 2011

Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato, Mozzarella and Spinach Strata

This recipe emerged as an answer to an overload of sun-dried tomatoes in my pantry. Obviously have been stocking up for some kind of emergency or something - although in what emergency sun-dried tomatoes constitute a food staple, I have no idea! A strata is also a great way of dealing with dried up bread... as they say Waste Not, Want Not.  It makes a beautiful presentation for a fancy brunch and is assembled in advance making for an easy, stress-free morning. Oh! And sometimes I substitute steamed asparagus for the spinach... equally wonderful!

2 loaves stale french bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
3 cups skim milk
1/4 cup sour cream
8 eggs
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
2 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/4 inch diced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
dash of salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
cooking spray (olive oil or canola)

Combine milk, sour cream and eggs in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add half the tomatoes and the garlic, stirring with a whisk.  Add the bread and stir gently so bread absorbs the liquid. Let stand for 5 minutes.

In a skillet on medium heat, heat olive oil to just hot, coating pan. Saute spinach until slightly wilted.
Remove skillet from heat.

Pour half of bread mixture into a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 of remaining tomatoes,  3/4 of the spinach and 3/4 of the mozzarella. Cover with remaining bread and top[ off with the rest of the tomatoes, spinach and  mozzarella, poking the spinach into little holes between bread. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

In the morning heat preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover dish and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before cutting into square portions to serve. Looks beautiful served own a plate dusted with parmesan cheese. Serves 6-8.

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