Monday, March 11, 2013
a tale of two brunches
Brunch game plan #1: Make-ahead everything
And I mean everything. Prep all your food the night before, so all you have to do is make yourself a cup of coffee, stick something in the oven and lay it all out for your hungry guests.
But brunch means eggs, you say. And don't eggs need to be cooked right before you eat them? Not necessarily! If you can't imagine brunch without something eggy, make a breakfast casserole, a frittata (just prep all the ingredients and leave them in a bowl in your fridge overnight, then cook the frittata in the morning), a one-pan French toast or do as I did a few weeks ago and bake a big, puffy, eggy strata.
I worked off of a Smitten Kitchen recipe that called for spinach and lots of cheese. It puffed up so impressively high I had to remove a rack from my oven, so consider doing this beforehand. Also be sure to allot a little over an hour for it to bake, because my friends and I spent about 30 minutes poking the strata with a knife to see if it was still runny in the middle. It was a very, very large strata, as you can see.
More make-ahead favorites:
Granola with yogurt
Muffins or quick breads
Homemade sausage patties (form them the night before, fry up on the day-of)
Brunch game plan #2: Big-batch stuff on the fly
Maybe you don't want to serve brunch family-style. And that's okay. But you can still make single-serving dishes in big batches. For example, you can scramble or fry lots of eggs in one pan, bake eggs in little ramekins (don't overcook them!), make yogurt and granola parfaits in individual bowls or jars, or delicious open-faced cheese-prosciutto-egg sandwiches, like I did last weekend.
Food + Wine, I was both turned on and intimidated. It had a few moving parts -- a frisee salad, bread toasted with butter and then a layer of cheese, a layer of prosciutto and a runny fried egg on top. None of these elements are complicated on their own, but timing and assembling everything for a large group seemed a little tricky.
But when I looked at the actual steps, it made complete sense. You make all the cheesy toasts at once on a sheet pan, and while they cook, you fry up the eggs. The salad can be tossed together ahead of time, and the prosciutto needs nothing more than to be draped over the toast. So it actually comes together in an efficient, not scary way. And, man, was it delicious. So. Good.
More single-serving dishes in big batches:
Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and dill
I suppose you have three courses of action if you want to buy bagels, cream cheese and lox at the store. That would be the easiest, and possibly most delicious way to go. Although it does not allow you the pride that comes with placing a mammoth homemade strata on the table.
at 9:00 AM