A tacky casserole that lets the host savor vacation mornings
Tacky Spinach Breakfast Casserole. This casserole makes for a meatless vacation breakfast centerpiece. (Kerri Brewer for The New York Instances. Meals Stylist: Barrett Washburne)
By Melissa Clark, The New York Instances
It’s not a giant deal making eggs and toast to feed one or two. It’s whenever you strive it for a crowd that issues begin to get tough. The eggs or the toast at all times wind up chilly, which is unhealthy sufficient on a weekday, and even worse on a vacation morning.
However flip these components right into a breakfast casserole and one thing magical ensues.
As a substitute of remaining separate, the bread soaks up the egg, turning into custardy within the middle, and puffed and golden on high after baking. You possibly can stir in every kind of different components to fancy it up — any mixture of bacon, sausage, cheeses, herbs or greens will heighten its enchantment.
Better of all, not solely can all of this be finished upfront, it needs to be.
Assembling the casserole the day earlier than permits the bread to melt and soak up the egg combination because it sits. Then, the following day, all it’s worthwhile to do is pop it within the oven, leaving the cook dinner loads of time for different morning pursuits — going for a run or having a shower (or each), caffeinating, even opening presents whereas the casserole slowly bakes till burnished.
Though many breakfast casseroles lean on bacon and sausage for character and heft, this one is meatless and brilliant. It’s crammed with leeks and spinach sautéed till wilted, the pan deglazed with winy vermouth for further zip. Then, the greens are combined right into a easy egg and milk custard that’s gently suffused with nutmeg, lemon zest and a pinch of cayenne.
I additionally threw in some cheese, selecting Gruyere for its wealthy nuttiness, together with some Parmesan for pungency and depth. However you possibly can substitute cheddar, Gouda, manchego, blue cheese, even gentle goat cheese, which might make the middle of the casserole even creamier and tangier.
And will somebody at your desk miss the bacon, you possibly can lay some slices on a sheet pan and cook dinner them in the identical oven alongside the casserole. This fashion, the casserole stays vegetarian whereas the bacon stays crisp, slightly than softening into the puddinglike middle of the casserole.
Add a beverage or two (espresso, tea, mimosas), and also you’ll be all set to serve a savory, festive and extremely handy meal regardless of how early your company are set to reach.
Recipe: Spinach and Gruyère Breakfast Casserole
By Melissa Clark
Stuffed with sauteed spinach and nutty Gruyere combined right into a nutmeg and lemon-scented custard, this breakfast casserole is a wealthy, meatless possibility for a special day breakfast or brunch. Like most of its sort, you possibly can assemble the casserole the day earlier than you wish to bake it, then pop it within the oven an hour or so earlier than serving. It can emerge puffed and golden on high, prepared for its star activate any festive desk.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Complete time: 1 hour, 50 minutes, plus a minimum of 8 hours chilling and 10 minutes resting
- 8 ounces baguette or different crusty bread, lower into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, extra as wanted
- 2 leeks, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons
- 10 ounces recent spinach
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Giant pinch of floor cayenne
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons dry vermouth or white wine
- 8 massive eggs
- 2 cups half-and-half (or use a mixture of milk and heavy cream)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 ounces Gruyere, grated (2 cups)
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1. Warmth oven to 350 levels. Frivolously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or a big gratin dish.
2. Unfold baguette cubes on a baking sheet. Bake till crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Switch cubes to a big bowl and toss with 4 tablespoons melted butter and a pinch of salt.
3. In the meantime, in a big saute pan, soften the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high warmth. Add leeks and a pinch of salt, and sauté till tender and evenly golden, about 5 minutes.
4. Stir in about half of the spinach leaves, a pinch of salt, nutmeg, cayenne and lemon zest, and stir till wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in remaining spinach and one other pinch of salt. Saute till a lot of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes longer. Stir within the vermouth and let cook dinner for two to 4 minutes, or till the pan appears to be like dry. Style and add extra salt if wanted. Let spinach cool.5. In a medium bowl, whisk collectively eggs, half-and-half, pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Add combination to the baguette, tossing effectively. Add spinach, 1 3/4 cups Gruyere and 1/2 cup Parmesan, and toss every little thing till combined (your palms work effectively for this).
6. Pour combination into ready baking dish, cowl, and refrigerate for 8 hours or in a single day.
7. When able to bake, warmth oven to 350 levels. Uncover and high casserole with remaining 1/4 cup grated Gruyere and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or till the middle is about and now not liquidy (it would puff, and that’s superb). Let sit for 10 to twenty minutes earlier than serving.
This text initially appeared in The New York Instances.
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