Food & Wine

Brunch With Friends


We love to entertain. Our newest favorite idea: hosting brunch. It’s a welcome change from the late night clean ups of dinner parties, and the mood is more relaxed, especially at this festive time of year. Bobby Flay’s new book, Brunch at Bobby’s, is full of great, easy-to-accomplish ideas for a casual gathering of friends. This gooey, cheesy, but also healthful egg dish, is a sure crowd pleaser. 

People love brunch so much they are willing to endure epic waits, the often so-so food and drinks, and the hoverers rushing your meal. Now that I just don’t get. Why not invite your friends over and host at home? The drinks won’t be watered down, the food will be amazing, everyone will be comfortable, and you can keep the party going as long as you like.

Strata, a savory bread pudding, is an excellent brunch dish to prepare for a crowd. It’s best made in advance, and you serve it family style—no need to be tied to the stove flipping omelets for eight. 

Caramelized Onion, Spinach, and Gruyère Strata with Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes

SERVES 8

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups 1⁄2-inch cubed day-old French bread (with crust)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 large Spanish onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups grated aged Gruyère cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 10 large eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Sautéed cherry tomatoes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Put the bread on a baking sheet and toast, stirring once, until lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Set aside to cool.
  4. Combine the butter and oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and cook until it begins to simmer.
  5. Add the onions, toss to coat in the butter, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
  7. Stir in the thyme, remove from the heat, and let cool slightly.
  8. Butter a 9 × 13-inch baking dish.
  9. Put the bread cubes in the dish and sprinkle them with 1½ cups of the cheese, the onions, and the spinach.
  10. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and the nutmeg.
  11. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and press down to make sure the bread is totally submerged.
  12. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  13. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  14. Uncover the baking dish and bake until the mixture has puffed up slightly and is golden brown on top, and the strata doesn’t shimmy when you shake the pan, about 1 hour.
  15. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup cheese over the top during the last 10 minutes of baking.
  16. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving large spoonfuls on plates and topping with the sautéed tomatoes.

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5 Responses

  1. Susan Schumacher

    Bobby Flay’s Strata recipe looks delightful. I can’t wait to try it for our New Year’s Day brunch with the family . What I loved most is that sauté was spelled correctly. Thank you for including this recipe without asking me to buy something or jump to several links to get the complete recipe.

  2. Plan to try this amazing recipe for friends on St. Patrick’s Day, and the fun ideas for a wedding shower are in my folder for my granddaughters. Looking ahead! Thanks again for your blogs

  3. Joy Brogan

    Love the blog! Not sure I would call a recipe that calls for a cup of cream “healthy,” though. But it looks delicious, and I plan to make it (substituting the cream for milk).

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