English Premier League Soccer season is starting again this weekend, which means my husband (and occasionally I) will be up with the birds to watch games that, in my time zone, start at about 6:AM. As the season rolls on and the stakes get higher, occasionally we’ll get a game at 10:AM on a Sunday, perfect for a viewing party.
I’m always looking for a brunch dish I can make quickly, cook without minding, put on a table with a large serving spoon, then pretty much ignore so I don’t have to miss much of the game. When it also helps me clear out my fridge and pantry, all the better. This is just such a dish.
1 large onion, chopped
1, 8 oz bag frozen chopped spinach
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 roasted red peppers diced
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken stock
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 loaf of stale bread (I use a ficelle or baguette but anything works)
1/2 cup white wine (or you can use stock instead)
1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 pan.
Break or cut the stale bread into 1 inch chunks and toss in the 9×13 pan. Mix the eggs, milk, stock, lemon juice, zest and feta cheese with salt and pepper. Whisk together and pour over the bread. Let the liquid soak into the stale bread while you do the rest of the steps. If you want to, you can do this step the night before and let it sit in the fridge.
Saute 1 chopped onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat with salt and pepper. When the onions begin to turn translucent and are a bit brown on the edges, add the half a bag of chopped frozen spinach to the mixture letting it thaw. When the last of the spinach juice has evaporated, use the white wine or stock to deglaze the pan, taking it off the heat while you stir it to gather all the crusty bits on the bottom of the pan. Mix in the cold chopped red peppers, then distribute the veggies in with the eggs/bread mixture. Stir or mush it around with your fingers so everything gets incorporated. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top and bake for 35-45 minutes until the whole thing puffs up a little and the top is slightly browned. This tastes good hot or at room temperature and sits well in your fridge for zapping morning spoonfuls for the rest of your work week.
Options with this dish are virtually endless. If you like more Latin flare, substitute salsa for the stock, manchego for feta, sausage for spinach, and cheddar for parmesan. If I have other veggies, fresh herbs, meats or cheeses, I sometimes throw those in. Experiment until you find a combination you and your loved ones like.