Egg

A Strata Is the Perfect Make-Ahead Holiday Breakfast

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December 18, 2017

During the holiday season, big parties, bigger meals, and show-stopping main courses usually get all the attention. We've partnered with Eggland's Best to shine a light on the less flashy moments and simpler dishes that are still just as important. Each one—including this crowd-pleasing strata—is made more delicious and nutritious with EB eggs.

The first year I hosted Christmas morning in my own home, I wanted breakfast to be perfect. That meant eggs to order, stacks of hot cakes, tiny sausages, homemade cinnamon rolls—the works. Yet as I stood in the kitchen by myself, frazzled and isolated, while my family opened presents in the living room, I realized I’d cooked myself into a corner. I decided then and there to keep future Christmas mornings simple; now, I always make a strata.

A strata made with EB eggs is easy...easy like Christmas morning. Photo by Rocky Luten

Ah, the magical and time-saving egg strata. A savory, eggy bread pudding, strata is the ultimate one-casserole-pan holiday breakfast. Perfect for feeding a crowd, you can make the dish ahead of time or assemble it just as easily in the morning. Either way, you get a warm dish of bready, custardy eggs (dotted with whatever fillings you choose), topped with a puffed, golden brown crust.

Stratas are also incredibly forgiving: You can follow the recipe word for word or experiment with whatever leftovers you have in the fridge (last night’s holiday ham would be a tasty addition). All you need is some fruit on the side, a sweet treat from the local bakery, good strong coffee, and you’ve made a feast worthy of your loved ones—without breaking a sweat.

My go-to Christmas morning strata combines the classic flavors I know everyone loves: bacon, egg, and cheese, with Parmesan thrown in for good measure. Cherry tomatoes, garlic, and balsamic vinegar get mixed throughout, complimenting the custardy sourdough bread and salty bacon with bursts of brightness. Where other stratas might call it a day, this bad boy keeps going, with an extra decadent layer of cream cheese in the middle. If this won’t lure even the most devout present-opener away from the tree long enough to sit down to a family breakfast, nothing will.

A croissant base for a strata made with EB eggs? Oh yes we did. Photo by Rocky Luten

But sometimes I want to mix things up. If I’m feeling a bit fancier and more adventurous, I channel my inner Francophile with this fennel and pear strata. It’s got the classic flavors of a French cheese plate, with the familiar comfort of a casserole—and the best part is, all the ingredients go into the baking dish raw, so there’s no stovetop cooking involved (win!). Instead of the traditional bread base, this strata is made with croissants; they form a tender, buttery crust that houses a savory and sweet eggy interior. Crisp shaved fennel, juicy sliced pears, and brie and gorgonzola’s love-child, cambazola, keep each bite interesting—and keep your guests coming back for more. Garnish with chopped rosemary and a dollop of creme fraiche, and you’ll be doing Paris proud.

For me, there’s no better sight than the people I love sitting around a table, enjoying each other's company. And with minimal planning, I’m right there with them—not trapped in the kitchen, but dishing up strata and good cheer. A true Christmas miracle!

We're shining a light on some of the holiday season's simpler dishes, all made more delicious with EB eggs. Eggland's Best credits the extra vitamins and minerals in their eggs (like ten times more vitamin E and six times more vitamin D) to an all-vegetarian hen feed.

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