- 3 cups half and half
- 10 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 cups 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes Italian bread (a 14 to 16 ounce loaf)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces Canadian bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 pound spinach, cleaned
- 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated(about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- In a large bowl, whisk together the half and half, eggs, pepper, cayenne, paprika, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Add the bread, cover, and set aside for at least 1 hour at room temperature and up to overnight in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Spray the bottom and sides of a 12- inch ovenproof skillet generously with nonstick cooking spray. Add the butter and melt it over medium- high heat. Add the Canadian bacon, onion, garlic, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute longer, until wilted. Remove half the mixture from the pan and set aside.Reduce the heat to medium.
- Using a large spoon, add half of the bread mixture to the pan. Sprinkle half of the cheeses over the bread, then top with the remaining half of the spinach mixture. Spoon the remaining bread on top and finish with the remaining cheese. Bake the strata until puffed and golden brown and the center is set, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
- To serve, loosen the strata by running a rubber spatula around the sides and bottom of the pan. Tilt the pan, give it a slight shake, and allow the strata to slide onto a serving plate. Alternatively, leave the strata in the pan, cut into slices, and serve.
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