Day 6: A Radically Simple Countdown to Christmas

21 Dec

12-21-2013 03;58;28PMWhen we think about main courses, it is generally dinner that comes to mind. But a main course for Christmas morning is fun to consider. A great idea is to make a breakfast strata: Layers of bread, prosciutto, feta, provolone and spinach, that can be assembled the night before and baked while you open presents. The striations of ingredients soak up the egg-and-milk base. Baked for 1 hour, the result is custardy, rich, and quiche-like. Best eaten in your pajamas while sipping winter mimosas — made with tangerine juice and prosecco topped with pomegranate seeds.

Cheese Strata with Prosciutto, Basil & Spinach

3-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
16 slices firm white bread, crusts removed
8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
4 ounces provolone cheese, shredded
1/4 cup finely minced scallions, white and green parts
4 ounces fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup finely julienned fresh basil
5 extra-large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce

Butter a 12-x-7 inch glass or ceramic dish with 1/2 tablespoon of the butter. Cover the bottom with 6 slices of bread, plus 1 slice cut in half to fill the spaces. Evenly cover the bread with half the prosciutto. Sprinkle with half of the feta, provolone, scallions, spinach, and basil. Repeat to make a second layer. Cut the remaining 2 bread slices into 1/4-inch cubes; scatter over the top. Beat together the eggs, half-and-half, and hot sauce. Pour over the strata; press down firmly with a spatula. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and drizzle over the top.  Cover; refrigerate 5 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Uncover and bake 1 hour, until golden. Serves 8

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