Whether it's for Easter or any other memorable weekend morning when it's time for company, let's turn to brunch. For this gathering, we'll turn to a single dish that combines all three of the foods most closely associated with the season: eggs, asparagus and ham in the form of Italian Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus and Ham.
The dish is made especially memorable by employing a trick used by restaurants to boost the flavor (and fat content) of scrambled eggs. Just add pieces of cream cheese to the beaten eggs, bringing a rich depth to the meal.
Such a sumptuously textured entree begs a side dish that is simple and elegant, yet in its way just as delicious. My go-to choice is a version of one of my favorite ways to cook potatoes: oven-roasted with onions.
Essentially, it is a simpler and possibly healthier version of hash browns. You cut up a potato into bite-size pieces, toss them with plenty of salt and some pepper, and pop them into the oven. Cook them for a bit, add chopped onions and roast until done.
I'm a big fan of fruit salad, so I chose to make one for a first course. Begin with whatever fruit looks freshest and best at the market, making sure it will be ripe by the day of your brunch.
You'll want at least one citrus choice and probably at least one apple. Count on one portion of fruit per person (one apple, one orange, one slice of melon). Be sure to add a selection of berries, preferably at least two kinds, and don't forget the grapes, if you like them.
Toss in a handful or two of raisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruit to inject a delightful contrast of textures and, if you're so inclined, sprinkle the top with some nuts. Almonds are good, but walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts would work, as well.
Top the fruit salad with a port reduction glaze, a trick I learned from a restaurant in Michigan. Take four parts port to one part sugar, and boil it away until it thickens and resembles syrup. Pour the glaze sparingly over the fruit for a hint of unexpectedly complex sweetness.
Finally, every good brunch deserves dessert, in this case, peanut butter chocolate chip muffins, which can be made the night before.
Morning couldn't taste better.