HAM, CHEESE AND SPINACH STRATA

Trish's ham, cheese and spinach strata

This is truly a dish that works for grown-ups and kids alike. My son, Fin, made a list of the ten dinners that he “approved,” and this was No. 4 (the “wifesaver”!). My first version had just bacon and cheese, then I put spinach and it still got both thumbs up. You can serve this for dinner with a salad, but I like it best as brunch for a multi-generational crowd.

RECIPE: Ham, Cheese and Spinach Strata (Serves 6-8)

INGREDIENTS

3 tbsp (50 mL) butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3/4 lb (375 g) thinly sliced Black forest ham, cut in wide ribbons

6 cups (1.5 L) baby spinach, washed, dried and coarsely chopped

2 cups (500 mL) grated Gruyère

1 cup (250 mL) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 baguette, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes (about 7 cups/1.75 L)

9 large eggs

3 cups (750 mL) 2% milk

2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard

2 tsp (10 mL) dry mustard

1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg

A few pinches cayenne pepper

Black pepper to taste

HOW TO

  1. Butter a deep 9- x 13-inch (3 L) gratin dish.
  2. In a heavy frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add ham and cook slightly. Remove from heat and add spinach, using tongs to incorporate.
  3. Mix cheeses together. Spread one-third of the bread in a gratin dish. Top with one-third of the spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one-third of the cheese. Repeat layering, ending with cheese on top.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, Dijon, dry mustard, salt, nutmeg, cayenne and black pepper. Pour evenly over strata. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. Bring to room temperature before baking.
  5. Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C). Uncover strata and bake for 50 minutes or until bread is golden and eggs are set. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

Kitchen Notes: You can get this ready in the morning and bake it at night for dinner, or prepare it the day before, bake for 30 minutes, then reheat before serving. In place of fresh spinach, you can use a 10-oz (284 g) package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry.

Keep this one in your back pocket for last-minute dinners or cozy brunches with friends and family. More recipes and good stuff at Magwood.co.