Spinach Strata

The garden out back is beginning to produce an array of beautiful vegetables. My dad is an avid gardener, and those vegies are like his little babies. He grows everything from seed - beginning in a make-shift "greenhouse" he places beside our grand piano. As the weeks progress, the little black tubs of plants begin to overflow and create a small forest in the front room. (Apparently this is the best space in the house for as much sunlight as possible. He says he needs the space until he builds himself a real greenhouse outside. Mom is very patient and goes along with it well... Happy to see the fruits of her husband's in-door jungle when she bites into a juicy, ripe, rosy-red tomato in August.)

We've been munching on crisp spinach leaves for several weeks now. The earthy, fresh flavor of just-harvested greens is hard to beat. To me, spinach + olive oil + lemon is a trio made in heaven. At dinner, I love the leaves dressed simply - with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon. But at breakfast, fresh spinach decorated throughout a rustic strata and combined with a bit of feta and oregano is the perfect way to start the day.

I have been making this strata almost weekly since I first discovered it. It is hearty, moist, and extremely flavorful. The top gets nice and brown in the oven, creating a lovely crunch. I admit, I've been guilty of stealing extra crispy bits to put on my breakfast plate. With the subtle, light taste of lemon, a bit of olive oil fruitiness, and a little saltiness from the feta, this strata is wonderful. I might also add that it is a snap to mix up. You put it all together the night before you want to serve it, and then bake it in the morning. I think this strata is a perfect way to use some of the abundant spinach out back. Dad agrees.

Notes: I've increased the bread quantity slightly because I found the strata a bit wet with just the 8 ounces originally called for. If you don't have day-old bread, you can dry fresh bread in an oven heated to 250°F for 10 to 15 minutes. I've been making this with regular homemade whole-wheat sandwich bread, but any dense whole-grain bread will do.

Adapted from Super Natural Every Day