Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mediterranean Strata

You may have noticed that I often start with recipes I find online, and then change a whole bunch of things about them.  Part of the reason I do this is to suit my personal tastes, and the other reason is to try to create my own dishes.  When I first started cooking, I followed recipes to the letter.  I felt confident following directions, but not so much going off on my own.  I remember going out to the grocery store late at night mid-cooking to pick up some ingredient I thought I couldn't possibly live without.  If you are just getting into cooking, don't be scared, the worst thing that can happen is you end up eating egg sandwiches for dinner.

This dish exceeded my expectations.  I am a big fan of Mediterranean flavors, and this was a great combination.  Plus, you can make strata in advance and chill in the fridge before baking.  It's perfect for brunch, lunch or dinner.

Mediterranean Strata
adapted from Cooking Light
8 oz baguette, cut into 1 inch slices
Olive oil
Cooking spray
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 sliced tomato, or 1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes
3 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup grated asiago cheese, divided
1 cup skim milk
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and cook onion, bell pepper, and garlic about 5 minutes, until tender.  Sprinkle flour over onion mixture, add in spinach and stir well.  Season with salt and pepper.
In an 8x8 baking dish coated with cooking spray, arrange a layer of bread slices, about half.

Spread spinach mixture over bread.  Top with tomato, feta, and half the asiago cheese.  Arrange remaining bread slices over the cheese.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, oregano, salt, pepper, and mustard and whisk well to combine.

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the dish, and sprinkle with remaining asiago cheese.

Chill in the refrigerator while the oven preheats to 350 degrees, or overnight.
Bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned and set.

 Serves 6.


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