Croissant Ham & Spinach Strata

This is a fantastic recipe to make if you have any croissants lying around that are past their prime.  It’s also a good way to use up that huge smoked ham you have left over from the holidays…or maybe that’s just me.  The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is so versatile — you can use almost any combination of ingredients you like: ham, sausage, spinach, mushrooms, peppers or whatever suits your fancy.  It is also a great make-ahead meal. The longer the bread soaks in the custard, the tastier the casserole will be.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter (plus more for greasing the baking dish)
  • 1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cups fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 6 croissants, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup grated cheese, such as emmenthal, swiss, cheddar
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped ham
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 3/4 cups of milk

Method:

  1. Grease a 9 x 12 baking dish with butter.
  2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and butter.  Add shallot and saute until softened.
  3. Add spinach and cook until wilted; season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.  Make sure to drain as much liquid as possible out of the spinach before adding to casserole.
  4. Spread about 1/3 of the cubed croissants into the baking dish.  Top with 1/3 of the spinach mixture, 1/3 of the ham and  1/3 of the cheese.  Repeat the layers two more times.
  5. Prepare the custard: whisk together the eggs, milk, Dijon mustard and 1/2 tsp of salt.
  6. Pour the custard evenly over the casserole.
  7. Cover and refrigerate the strata for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  8. Take the casserole out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.
  9. Preheat oven to 350F.
  10. Bake strata, uncovered, for about 40-45 until the top is golden brown.

*Yield:  Approximately 12 servings

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