Last weekend my parents came up from Indiana to celebrate my Mom’s 70th birthday. Neither of them were very familiar with ramps so I figured I could make a few things that showcased them. On the night of my Mom’s birthday I created the Grilled Ramp Salad that I wrote about for the Chef Talk article, while the following morning, Sunday, I baked off this wonderful Strata, aka, Egg Casserole. My Dad also expressed some interest in how to hunt for ramps so I took him to my favorite foraging spot and gave him a quick lesson in ramp gathering. It was nice as we also got to spend a little father-son time, something that doesn’t happen often as they live 5+ hours away and when they come up, love to spend time with their granddaughter. And who can blame them. She’s awfully cute!
Egg Casseroles, Stratas, do require a little preplanning as they do best when they are made the night before and allowed to soak overnight. The nice thing about that is then that morning there is very little that needs to be done and you can relax with a cup of coffee. They can also be assembled early in the morning, if you are planning on doing a late brunch as you can get away with a 4 hour soak, but I wouldn’t allow for any less time.
Spinach and Ramp Strata
2 3/4 cups milk
2 cups ramps, chopped (use the everything but the roots)
2 Tbs. butter, plus more for greasing the pan
12 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
2 cups swiss cheese, shredded
1 pound loaf french bread, sliced 1/2-3/4″ thick
freshly ground nutmeg
Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and melt the butter. Add the ramps and saute until tender but not colored. Add the spinach, salt and pepper and continue to cook until most of the water has evaporated.
Cool the spinach mixture. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat thoroughly. Add the milk and season with salt, pepper and a few gratings of fresh nutmeg. Butter a 9×13 baking pan. Place half of the bread slices in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer with the spinach mixture and top with 1 cup of the swiss cheese.
Top with the remaining bread.
Then pour the egg mixture of the everything, making sure to soak each piece of bread. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate, at least, 4 hours or preferably, overnight.
The next morning preheat the oven to 350°F. While the oven is heating uncover the strata and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the strata no longer jiggles, in the center, when gently shaken. If it starts to get too brown cover with some aluminum foil. When done remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.