Serious Eats: Recipes

Sunday Brunch: Spinach and Gruyère Strata

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

The Family Stone introduced me to strata in 2005. The trailer featured poor Sarah Jessica Parker watching her lovingly prepared contribution to Christmas breakfast, an unbaked strata, smash onto the kitchen floor of her potential mother in law. Perhaps because of lingering associations with awkwardness and bad luck, I didn't sample the make-ahead breakfast casserole until my friend Amanda served one to me last month. With its soft, custardy bread, gooey cheese, and savory filling, it was so scrumptious that only about a week went by before I decided to make one myself.

This spinach and gruyère strata closely resembles a savory bread pudding I like to make at any time of day. I don't usually assemble bread pudding in advance, but you can put this dish together the night before, making for a very easy morning. You could use fresh spinach or chard, too, of course, cleaned and wilted. With coffee and a bowl of berries, strata becomes a complete, low-fuss brunch.

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