5NEWS Grill: Baked Brunch Strata
6 cups cubed day-old French bread, with crust
2 TBSP. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 TBSP. canola oil
2 large Vidalia onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 tsp. sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (10 oz pkg) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
10 large eggs
2 cups grated smoked Gouda or smoked Gruyere cheese
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 TBSP. fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup cooked, crumbled bacon or 1 cup cooked ham, cubed
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Put the bread on a baking sheet and toast until lightly golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Combine the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and cook until it begins to simmer. Add the onions, toss to coat in the butter, and then add the sugar and season with salt and pepper.
Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, onions and spinach. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1 1/2 cups cheese, milk, heavy cream, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, thyme, nutmeg and crumbled bacon or cubed ham.
Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Add the bread cubes to the baking dish, and then pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and press down to make sure the bread is totally submerged.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the strata uncovered until the mixture has puffed up slightly, is golden borwn on top and doesn’t shimmy with uncooked custard when you shake the pan,
about 1 hour. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top during the last 10 minutes of baking.
Let cool 5 minutes before serving.