The Best Basil Strata
1 cup whole milk
½ cup dry white wine
1 loaf crusty French bread, cut into ½ inch slice (on the diagonal to make the pieces larger)
8 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced (optional)
2 cups (about 1-2 ounces) fresh baby spinach
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ pound havarti, sliced
2 to 3 ripe tomatoes sliced
½ cup pesto
4 eggs, beaten
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ cup heavy cream
This should be prepared the night before if serving for breakfast or brunch. It should be prepared in the morning if serving for dinner. :)
Mix the milk and wine in a bowl. Dip the bread in the milk mixture gently squeezing as much liquid as possible without tearing. Place the bread in a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic pan and cover with slices of prosciutto (if using), spinach dipped in olive oil, slices of cheese and a few slices of tomato. Drizzle with pesto. Repeat layering until the dish is full (usually two layers). Beat the eggs with salt and pepper and pour over the layered dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The following day, remove dish and allow to warm to room temperature. I usually take it out 15 to 30 minutes before I bake it. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the top with heavy cream and bake until browned, 45 minutes to one hour.