I like to loaf over the holidays, but I’m actually useful on Christmas Day, when I make brunch for my family. This dish is a mashup of two of my favourite brunch dishes, is easy to make in advance, and great for a group.
Does this dish sound familiar? It’s a cross between a Croque Madame and a Drunken Mushroom, Spinach and Gruyere Strata. I like the heartiness and simplicity of the strata; the casserole format is great for a family meal.
I love Croque Madame for brunch, but it’s hard to have multiple servings ready to eat at the same time. This is a dish best made for two. I took the flavours of the Croque Madame and merged them with the format of the strata (and kept the strata’s mushrooms and spinach, because we love it!).
The only thing missing was the fried egg on top – I think I may have to work that in somehow. (Darn! More delicious trial and error to come!)
Croque Madame Strata
- 1 nice loaf of day-old bread (sourdough, egg bread – any that are chubby and not too hard), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 7 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 1/2 cup low-fat (1%) milk
- 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence, divided (or other fun herbs, like rosemary, basil, oregano, sage, thyme… whatever you like!)
- 5 teaspoons olive oil
- 4-6 scallions (white part minced, green part sliced and kept separate)
- 1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups sliced mushrooms (I actually put in 9 cups – my family loves mushrooms)
- a few slices of ham, torn into long strips (can use nice sliced black forest ham, or just what you have left over!)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tsp butter
- 3 cups fresh spinach, washed, de-spined and roughly chopped
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cups shredded swiss cheese
- 1 cup Mornay sauce (see recipe here) (Make while strata is baking)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg whites, grainy mustard, and milk. Add 1 teaspoon of the herbes de Provence, salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with ⅓ of the egg mixture. Set aside for at least an hour, to allow the egg mixture to soak in.
- In large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until the scallions have softened, about 2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, and sauté until browned. Deglaze the pan with the wine.
- Stir in the remaining herbs, salt and pepper.
- Add the spinach, one handful at a time, until it has wilted. Remove from the heat.
- Generously oil a 7 by 11-inch baking dish. Lay half the egg-soaked bread in the dish.
- Spoon half of the spinach mixture over the bread in the baking dish. Pour half of the remaining egg mixture over the spinach layer. Sprinkle with half the cheese and a layer of ham.
- Top with the remaining bread, spinach, egg mixture, and cheese, in that order.
- Let sit for 30 minutes. While it is sitting, preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- Bake the strata for 30 minutes, or until golden, puffed and set. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
- While the strata is baking, make the mornay sauce.
- Serve topped with mornay sauce and sliced green scallions.