It’s not breakfast. It’s not lunch. If you’re a hobbit, it’s called “in-betweensies” but we call it Brunch, with a capital “B” for sure. Brunch puts you in a good mood just thinking about it, feels a little decadent and luxurious, and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy with good will toward all mankind.
I think of France and England and beautiful table settings… relaxing mornings that run into the afternoon, leaving you with a pleasant glow of friendship and pampering.
Why not have an egg dish that is not only delicious, but pleasing to the eye as well? I’m talking about something I call Sunflower Eggs and they are just glorious to have on a nice, brunchy table that you’re sharing with friends. A little phyllo pastry, a little grated Parmigiano, chives and of course, eggs. It’s an incredibly light taste and sure to bring a few “Ahhhhhhh’s” from the table. In my experience, I always make a few extra for those who really need an egg fix during brunch.
Let’s add some fresh fruit to the menu and rather than put them in a pancake or waffle, why not crêpes? Crêpes are so misunderstood. They are easy to make, don’t require any fancy schmanzy ingredients and can be made ahead. Yes! Made ahead and can be frozen for up to a month. You have to love that. This makes brunch that much easier. The fruit becomes not only part of the filling, but also the sauce!
For those who want something a little heartier on their brunch menu, you can’t go wrong with Torta di Patate — a potato pie with layers of smoked mozzarella and Italian sopresso salami. This has everything in it that says “Comfort Food.”
Ah, but what to drink at brunch. You should always have a wonderfully diverse selection of teas, fragrant coffee perking, fresh fruit juices and flavored water. For me? I love champagne anytime but a favorite brunch drink is a mixture of grapefruit and Prosecco, the champagne of Italy. If you would like a little more fizzy to it, just drop in a sugar cube. It increases the effervescence and sweetness of the wine, and symbolizes the wish that your life will be sweet. And isn’t that just exactly the feeling you want?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Serves about 4
4 sheets phyllo pastry
2 T butter, melted
4 t. freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
4 t. minced green onion, green tops included
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Spray 4 muffin cups with cooking oil . Brush 1 sheet of phyllo with the melted butter. Top with another sheet; brush with more melted butter. Cut the stack into 6 squares. Repeat this with the remaining 2 phyllo sheets. Stack 3 squares together, rotating each one so that the corners do not overlap. Press these gently into the 4 muffin cups.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cheese into each phyllo-lined cup. Break an egg into each cup and top with a little minced green onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the eggs are set.
with Orange Sauce
Sauce for 4 servings
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 T sugar
1 – 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened
¼ cup of honey
¾ cup of fresh orange juice
8 – 6 ½ to 7 inch crêpes
Combine the blueberries, strawberries and the sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
Prepare the orange sauce by beating the cream cheese and honey until light; slowly beat in the orange juice.
Spoon about ½ cup of the berry mixture into the center of 1 crêpe. Spoon about 1 Tablespoon of the sauce over the berries. Roll the crêpe up and place on a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining crêpes. Pour the remaining
sauce over the crêpes.
Makes 16 crêpes
¾ cup all-purpose
1 cup milk
3 T butter, melted
½ t. salt
Combine flour, eggs, milk, butter and salt blender or food processor. Cover; process until combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Brush a 7-inch skillet with oil. Place over medium heat until hot. Add 3 Tablespoons of crêpe batter, tilting the skillet to cover the bottom evenly. Cook until it is golden brown on the bottom (go ahead and gently take a peak); turn it over and cook until browned on
Stack the crêpes between waxed paper squares to prevent them from sticking together. Repeat with the remaining batter, oiling the skillet anew occasionally.
Torta di Patate
(Potato Pie with Smoked Mozzarella and Salami)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Serves about 8 – 10
2 ½ lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
4 T. unsalted butter, plus 1 ½ T. for the dish, pus another
1 ½ T. for the top, melted (Total 7 – 8 T. of butter)
2/3 cups freshly grated parmigiano cheese
1 cup of milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ lb. smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into pea-sized cubes
¼ lb. sopresso salami
3 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ pound fresh buffalo mozzarella (bocconcini size),
1 cup of fluffy breadcrumbs (see recipe below)
Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and when cool enough, peel them and mash them in a large bowl. Stir in 4 T. of butter and the parmigiano, then add the milk, eggs, smoked mozzarella, salami and parsley. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.
Use 1 ½ T. of softened butter to grease a pie or gratin dish, or a 9” springform pan. Spoon half of the potato mixture into the chosen dish and level the top. Cover with the fresh mozzarella slices, then top with the remaining potato mixture. Combine the breadcrumbs in a bowl with the melted butter and mix well with your hands. Sprinkle over the top.
Bake until the top is golden and crunchy and the filling is hot and bubbly, about 40 – 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand about 10 minutes (longer if you are using a springform pan–about 30 minutes) before releasing the sides of the pan or serving it from a dish. Serve on a platter, or straight from the dish if you prefer.
Fluffy Breadcrumbs Recipe
To make big, fluffy breadcrumbs, leave an Italian-type loaf, such as ciabatta or a long loaf, out on the kitchen counter for a few days. Cut off the crust and cut into 2-inch pieces. Pulse the pieces in a processor until you have fluffy breadcrumbs. These are perfect to top gratins or for pasta. These can be packed into freezer bags and frozen for up to 6 months.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chef Tina Marie Greene is passionate about creating wonderful and memorable food experiences for everyone. To learn more, visit Kissing Rock Kitchens at