Making a family member’s favorite dish brings me great pleasure, so when my son-in-law, Andy, put in a request for strata over the Christmas holidays, I made sure I bought good bread and half-and-half, and had a carton of eggs on hand. I like strata–I make it a lot!–so I wanted to honor his request and yet challenge myself to make the dish a little different.
Because strata is so mild–it’s just eggs, milk, and bread–potent cheese is key. Typically I use sharp cheddar. Here’s where I needed to make it different. My mind went down the cheese list and landed on feta. From there the rest came tumbling out–spinach, dill, scallions.
Near our home in Pennsylvania, there’s a Greek restaurant we really like called Yianni’s. For a brief minute we thought about going there for Saturday breakfast until we realized they’re only open for Sunday brunch. We found another breakfast spot instead, but Spinach-Feta Strata was on the Sunday morning menu at our house. As we forked into this tasty new strata, we all agreed it would be a natural on the Yianni’s brunch menu.
My sharp-cheddar stratas are still my flagship brunch entree, but it’s so nice to have a new flavor in my repertoire.
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 6 large eggs
- 1 pound frozen spinach, squeezed dry
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced dill
- ½ teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper
- 8 ounces (3 cups) dense chewy European-style bread cubes
- 6 ounces feta, crumbled
- Whisk half-and-half and eggs until smooth, stir in spinach, scallions, dill, and salt and pepper. Scatter half the bread in an 8-inch square baking pan. Pour half the spinach mixture and scatter half the cheese over the bread. Repeat with a second layer. Let stand a half hour or so for bread to absorb the liquid. (Can be covered and refrigerated overnight; return to room temperature before baking or allow additional baking time.)
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake until egg mixture has completely set, about 50 minutes if strata was at room temperature and about an hour if refrigerated. Let stand a few minutes to set. Cut into slices and serve.