Yields: 0


11-27-14 very good
These dishes, known also as strata, can be rich, but they are just as satisfying when made with low-fat milk. The formula works well for any number of cooked vegetables tossed with stale bread and mixed with milk, eggs and cheese.

1 bunch kale, any type, stemmed and washed thoroughly in 2 changes of water (more if necessary)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped

1 to 2 garlic cloves (optional)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 pound stale bread, preferably whole-grain, sliced about 1 inch thick

2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (1/2 cup)

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 cup)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 eggs

2 cups low-fat milk

1. Bring a medium or large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add the kale. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but still colorful. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely and set aside.

2. If using garlic, cut one of the garlic cloves in half and rub the slices of bread with the cut side. Then mince all of the garlic. Cut the bread into 1-inch squares.

3. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy, wide skillet and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, and add the thyme, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook for another minute or two, until the mushrooms are tender and fragrant. Stir in the kale, toss together and remove from the heat.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil or butter a 2-quart baking dish, soufflé dish or gratin. In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, the mushrooms and kale, and the two cheeses and toss together. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

5. Beat together the eggs and milk. Add salt to taste and a few twists of the pepper mill, and pour over the bread mixture. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before baking so that the bread can absorb some of the liquid.

6. Place in the oven and bake 40 to 50 minutes, until puffed and browned. Remove from the oven and serve hot or warm.

Yield: 6 servings.

Advance preparation: This can be assembled through Step 4 hours before beating together the eggs and milk and completing the casserole.

Nutritional information per serving: 296 calories; 5 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 144 milligrams cholesterol; 27 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 376 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 20 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”

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