Easter’s approaching, which means a gloriously long weekend to look forward to! Why not take your cue from Williams-Sonoma and gather friends over a leisurely Easter brunch? Organise an egg hunt for the kids and let the adults catch up over a simple, relaxed feast. This “brunch Lorraine” is inspired by the classic flavours of a quiche Lorraine, but in an easy, rustic, free-form casserole, perfect for entertaining a crowd.
You can easily prepare this dish the night before (in fact, it’s preferable, so that the bread has time to soak), cover and refrigerate it, and then simply pop it in the oven the next morning just before your guests arrive. By preparing it in this vintage-inspired lidded casserole dish in a vibrant festive shade, it’ll be safe to go straight from fridge to oven to table, perfectly presented and warm, crisp and meltingly delicious.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- Sea salt, to taste, plus 1 tsp
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 500 g baby spinach or coarsely chopped English spinach
- 750 g loaf batard or ciabatta, crusts removed, bread cut into 2.5cm squares and toasted until dry (about 9 cups)
- 250 g ham, diced
- 185 g Gruyère, grated
- 10 eggs
- 2½ cups (625 ml) pouring cream
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelised, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
In the same pan over medium heat, warm ½ Tbsp of the olive oil. Add half of the spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander. Repeat with the remaining ½ Tbsp olive oil and spinach. Using a rubber spatula, press out the excess moisture.
In a large bowl, toss together the bread, the caramelised onion, spinach, ham and cheese. Transfer to a 4-litre baking dish. In a bowl, beat together the eggs, cream, the 1 tsp salt and pepper, to taste. Pour onto the bread mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 16 hours to soak.
Preheat an oven to 180°C.
Remove the plastic wrap from the baking dish and cover with a lid or foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the top is browned and the casserole is cooked through, 40 to 50 minutes more. Serve warm.
–For more Easter entertaining inspiration, head to www.williams-sonoma.com.au