Thursday, January 31, 2013
The best brunch dish you've never had
If you want to make your weekend truly spectacular, then make this saturday night and bake it up sunday for brunch, lunch or even dinner. I've been sitting on this recipe for weeks now; I made it for some friends for brunch several weekends ago and it was such a hit that I have been waiting for inspirational words that adequately describe this dish's awesomeness. None have come. So I guess you'll just have to trust my hyperbole, and go ahead and make it. Use some good quality bread (day-old, or fresh bread dried out in a warm oven), use good mushrooms, keep the stems out of your kale or escarole, and you'll have the best brunch dish ever. Promise.
I served it with a salad of local organic greens with a lemon mustard dressing and a wintry citrus fruit salad. And for dessert I made meringue kisses with the leftover egg whites from the strata.
Wild Mushroom, Winter Greens and Parmesan Strata
adapted from Sara Moulton
Serves 6 - 8
6 cups 1/2 inch cubes of day-old bread
6 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 cups lightly packed escarole or kale, inner ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped
2 medium shallots, sliced
3/4 cup shiitake mushrooms, small ones left whole, larger ones cut in half or thirds
3/4 cup oyster mushrooms, small ones left whole, larger ones cut in half or thirds
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Place bread in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish or roasting pan. Whisk together yolks, eggs and flour in a medium bowl. Whisk in milk, cream and thyme. Pour mixture over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add garlic and greens. Cook, stirring, until greens are wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove greens from skillet and discard garlic clove. Set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Add the shallots and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes.
Stir greens, mushrooms, shallots and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese into the soaked bread. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Bake until browned and set, 35-40 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature. Cut into squares and serve warm.