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Goat cheese elevates strata

"Milk" in the Western Hemisphere conjures images of a cow, but goat's milk is favored elsewhere. People with milk allergies can often digest goat's milk because its fats are of the short-chain variety. This strata recipe is perfect with chevre, the soft French cheese made from goat's milk. Prepare it the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning. It's also great for dinner with a big green salad.

>Herbed Spinach and Goat Cheese Strata

1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

Coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

8 cups cubed rustic bread, such as ciabatta (about a 1-pound loaf)

1 cup (6 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

2 3/4 cups 2 percent reduced-fat milk

8 eggs

1 to 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Place thawed spinach in colander and squeeze out excess water. Chop finely.

Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in spinach; remove from heat. Toss bread cubes, spinach mixture and cheeses together in large bowl. Place mixture in a buttered 13 x 9-inch baking dish or 3-quart gratin dish. Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard and herbs. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Pour evenly over bread mixture. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove strata from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and bake, uncovered, about 45 minutes, until puffed, golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Serves 10.

Per serving: 310 calories, 16 g fat, 200 mg chol., 17 g prot., 22 g carbs., 1 g fiber, 670 mg sodium.
Look for Relish magazine the first Thursday of each month in The Buffalo News.

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