This classic brunch dish is more than delicious. It also helps eliminate some of the scrambling around you'll have to do on Easter morning. It's designed to be prepared ahead of time and then popped into the oven when you're ready. Feel free to substitute cooked sausage for the ham or another cheese for the cheddar. French or Italian bread works well too, in place of croissants, although the latter make for a special treat.
Butter a 9- by 13-inch casserole. Using a serrated knife, cut the croissants into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes (you will need 6 cups) and scatter half of them in the casserole. Set the remaining cubes aside for now.
Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the onion and saute it over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the spinach (you may have to do this in batches) and cover the pan. Let the spinach cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Spoon the spinach over the croissant cubes in the casserole. Then sprinkle on half of the cheese and all of the ham. Next, add the remaining croissant pieces and the rest of the cheese.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half, mustard, salt, pepper, and basil just until blended. Ladle the liquid evenly over the layers in the casserole. Press the croissants down gently with a fork to dampen all of it. Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Heat the oven to 350F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the strata in the center of the oven until it is puffed and golden brown, about 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer the casserole to a wire rack and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Makes 12 servings.
Per serving: Calories 305 • Carbohydrates 15.5g • Total Fat 20.9g • Saturated Fat 12.3g • Cholesterol 164.5mg • Sodium 565.8mg