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Bonus points? You make it a day ahead.

By Stacey Ballis
March 26, 2021
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When it comes to Easter Brunch, it doesn't matter if I am hosting or going to a potluck, there is one dish that is always on the menu. Strata. This make-ahead baked savory bread and egg casserole is a godsend for any brunch, but especially for holidays when you want something that is both special, and also, easy to make and easy to transport. It is a dish that can be served hot, warm or at room temp. You can adapt the fillings to the tastes of the guests, and frankly, no spiral sliced ham ever had a better friend.

What is a strata?

Stratas are essentially savory bread puddings, enhanced with everything from vegetables to meats to cheeses to aromatics. They can be as simple as one extra ingredient, if they are designed to be more of a side dish, like a basic herbed strata to accompany a roasted leg of lamb, or a cheese strata to pair with your ham. Or they can be the star of the show, featuring fantastic combinations like chorizo, manchego and roasted red pepper or spinach, feta and onion. Once you know how to make a simple strata, you can experiment with all sorts of different flavors.

Why stratas are my favorite recipe for Easter (and all!) brunch

Not only are stratas delicious and easy to make, they're also perfect make-ahead dishes. In fact, stratas are always best if you make them the day ahead and let them rest uncooked in the fridge overnight, for the custard and bread to really become one, and then bake them off fresh in the morning. I always assemble mine right before bed, then preheat my oven when I first wake up, so that by the time I have showered and dressed, the oven is ready, and I can bake my strata to be hot in time for my guests.

Strata
Credit: Getty / iko636

Best ways to serve strata

Stratas that do not have meat in them are great served with salads and fruit as the main course. Vegetable and cheese stratas can be paired with any breakfast meat of your choosing, or with a smoked fish platter. Since they are bread-based, you don't need anything like toast with them, but hashed browns do not go amiss, nor do sweet pastries to balance the savory qualities of the main dish.

Best strata recipes

Here are my 10 favorite strata recipes to get your imagination flowing, any one of which will be perfect for your Easter Brunch, and with something for everyone!