Bacon, Cheese & Spinach Strata
On a recent trip to Denver I enjoyed breakfast a couple of times at Panzano. On my last day, my server recommended their breakfast strata. I'd actually never had strata. Strata, essentially meaning "layers," is a kind of quiche-like, casserole dish made up of whatever ingredients you'd like to throw in. The strata at Panzano was filled with spinach, ham, onions and everything else you can think of that would be packed in to your favorite omelet. Now, what I love about strata is the addition of bread. Because, is there anything better than bread? Turns out there is and it's strata.
- 1 (10-ounce) package of bacon, diced (SEE NOTE)
- 6 large eggs
- 1-1/4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Approx. 7 cups lightly packed French baguette or sourdough (I used sourdough), cut in to 1 inch square cubes.
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1 bag fresh spinach (5-6oz)
- Flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped for garnish (optional)
- In a medium non-stick pan, cook all but 2 tablespoons of bacon over medium high heat (Add a little olive oil if you're not using a non-stick pan), until brown and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan and set aside on a napkin covered plate.
- In large non-stick pan, heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and add spinach, shaking pan and stirring until completely wilted. Set aside.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.
- In a large 10" casserole dish add a layer of bread along the bottom. (I used these farmhouse bowls from Williams-Sonoma and divided ingredients in to two bowls)
- Pack the bread down to compress (I used my slotted spoon and my fist!)
- Add layer of spinach, bacon and half of cheese.
- Add a second layer of bread, pack it down and evenly pour over egg mixture.
- Add the remaining cheese then use your slotted spoon to squish down. You want to make sure all of the bread soaks up the egg mixture.
- Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- After 30 minutes, sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of uncooked bacon.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for additional 10 minutes or until golden on top and bacon is cooked.
- Garnish with fresh parsley.
NOTE: Bacon can be a little difficult to finely chop when it's thawed so I remove from package, place on a plate and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. You'll find it's much easier to cut afterwards!
All photos by Jonathan Stiers ©2015 | Recipe adapted from Recipe Tin Eats