Being that I am in between temp jobs these days, I find myself with a lot more free time than I probably need. So, earlier this week I decided to spend the day doing some much needed weeding of a friend’s p-patch plot. The sun was out, it was breezy and a perfect Seattle day to be playing in the dirt. However, as a novice gardener, the weeds and seedlings started to blur together, resulting in frequent moments of panic. Oops! Was that a weed or a delicate seedling I accidentally ripped from the earth? Luckily, the few fellow gardeners also tending to their plots were able to confirm what I was pulling out were indeed invasive weeds, and not a precious vegetable seedlings. Phew!
One of the nice gardeners, Bill, was also kind enough to offer some vegetables from his thriving garden plot. He sent me home with a beautiful head of romaine lettuce, some purple kale, a bunch of spinach and a large turnip (why not?). Super excited to try to use of some of this fresh organic produce I had just acquired, I washed, and cut all of it once I got home, but couldn’t figure out what to make. Later that evening, I found myself not ready to go to bed yet and still wound up from my weekly soccer game. I headed to the grocery store, bought some cheese and lovely bottle of wine on sale. It was 11:30pm and time to make a spinach and kale strata.
Thanks again, Bill!
Spinach and Kale Strata
**This recipe can be prepped the night before, refrigerated and baked the next day
1 bunch of spinach (about 2 cups)
1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped, thick parts of stems discarded (about 2 cups)
1 small onion or 2 shallots, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 cup shredded aged white cheddar (Swiss or Gruyere would work fine too)
4-5 slices sourdough or baguette (any crusty bread is fine) cut into 2-3 inch pieces
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup of milk (almond or soy works too)
Start by pouring yourself a generous glass of wine and putting on some good music.
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Wash and cut the spinach and kale. Be sure to dry off on paper towels or use a salad spinner to remove excess moisture.
3. Heat 3 tbsp of butter in a skillet until melted over medium heat. Add diced onion/shallot and sauté until translucent about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Once they are cooked down to your liking (I like them soft), add the garlic and cook for another couple minutes.
5. Next, mix in the kale and continue cooking until it starts to wilt. Allow for extra cooking time, especially if you left in the thicker parts of the stems. Add spinach and cook until it also starts to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, then stir to mix well.
6. Turn off heat and set kale and spinach mixture aside to cool.
10. Add about half of the chopped bread to the bottom of the baking dish and evenly spread about half of the kale-spinach mixture over it. Next, sprinkle half of the cheese over the spinach-kale mixture and repeat. I like to have pieces of the bread sticking out, so they get crunchy and golden-brown.
11. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the fridge for 20 minutes or you can refrigerate over night. If refrigerating over night, let dish warm up for about 20 minutes before putting it in the oven so it doesn’t crack.
12. Covered with foil, bake in oven at 400° for 35 minutes.
13. Remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until puffed up and golden brown around the edges.
14. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!