OVERNIGHT TOMATO, BACON, AND SPINACH STRATA
1 large French baguette (about 1-pound), cut into 1-1 ½ cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large leek, white and light green parts chopped (about 1 ½-2 cups)
3 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, shredded (or any good quality Swiss or Gruyere)
2 large tomatoes, cut into ½”slices (fresh garden tomatoes are best!)
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¾ cups whole milk
1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 ½ teaspoons Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Italian Spice Blend
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
Lay the bacon strips in a single layer on the baking sheet and cook until crisp, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the bacon and chop into 1” pieces. Set aside.
Place the bread cubes on the same baking sheet and roll them in the grease to lightly cover. Place in the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes until toasted on the outside, but still soft in the center. Let cool.
Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and leeks to the pan and cook until soft and golden, stirring frequently, about 8-10 minutes.
Coat a 9” x 11” baking dish with non-stick spray. Place the toasted bread in the baking dish, followed by the spinach, the onion and leek mixture, and the reserved chopped bacon. Gently toss everything it is all evenly distributed.
Spread 1 cup of the shredded Jarlsberg over the top of the casserole and top with the tomato slices in an even layer. Sprinkle the tomatoes with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper over the tomatoes. Top with the remaining cup of Jarlsberg.
Combine the eggs, cream, milk, remaining 1 ¼ teaspoons of the salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, the Italian seasoning, and ½ cup of the parmesan cheese in a large bowl and whisk vigorously until smooth.
Slowly pour this mixture over the casserole, letting it seep into all of the cracks and crevices. Gently push the contents aside with a fork to help the egg mixture evenly seep into the center and sides of the casserole. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup parmesan over the top.
Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and let casserole come to room temperature while the oven heats.
Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown and set in the center (no longer runny). Garnish with basil leaves.
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