It all starts with the egg, that simple nondescript protein whose familiar presence in refrigerators makes it almost forgettable, until it’s not.
Consider the ways to make it unforgettable.
Pair a poached egg with potato cakes and smoked salmon, with a dollop of avocado hollandaise, and you’ve got an eye-opener that shouts, “Good morning!”
Whisk eggs with spinach, sprinkle with feta and tomato slices, let it all sunbathe in the oven and you’ve got a frittata that dresses up any occasion.
Dip French bread into an egg batter, fragrant with orange and vanilla, and caramelize it in the pan. But don’t stop there! Smear a coating of Nutella between two slices of the toasted bread for a double-decker treat.
Mix together eggs with cottage cheese, cream cheese and chives, bake and voilá, a soufflé that’s more like a flan and easy enough for a child to make (Jacques Pépin’s granddaughter does).
Chop hard-cooked eggs and spill over fresh asparagus for a springtime ritual that brings out the best in each.
Mealtime couldn’t be better, so set the alarm and get crackin’. Spring has arrived and so have the brunches.
Orange-Scented French Toast Stuffed With Nutella
Note: From “The Alaska From Scratch Cookbook,” by Maya Wilson.
• 5 eggs
• 1/2 c. whole milk
• 1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
• 1 tsp. orange zest
• 2 tsp. sugar
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp. butter (plus more for serving), divided
• 8 slices French bread
• 1/4 c. Nutella
• 1/2 c. powdered sugar
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• Maple syrup, for serving
Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
In shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, orange juice and zest, sugar and vanilla until smooth and well combined.
Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl 1 tablespoon butter in pan to melt and coat the surface.
Briefly dip 1 slice bread into egg mixture, then turn over and dip the other side, as well. Promptly transfer soaked bread directly to skillet. Repeat with 3 more slices of bread, or until pan is full but not overcrowded. Cook for 2 minutes, or until bottoms are browned, caramelized and crisp. Turn and cook for 2 minutes, or until set in center. Transfer French toast to baking sheet, placing slices in single layer. Place baking sheet in oven to keep French toast warm while you cook the remaining slices of bread. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to hot skillet and repeat above steps with remaining bread.
To assemble the French toast, place 1 slice on a plate. Using a butter knife, spread slice generously with 1 tablespoon Nutella. Place another slice of French toast on top.
In small bowl, mix together powdered sugar and cinnamon. Dust the Nutella-stuffed French toast with cinnamon powdered sugar. Repeat with remaining slices. Serve with butter and maple syrup.
Nutrition information per serving (without syrup):
Calories 690 Fat 22 g Sodium 915 mg
Carbohydrates 100 g Saturated fat 8 g Total sugars 36 g
Protein 24 g Cholesterol 250 mg Dietary fiber 4 g
Exchanges per serving: 4 starch, 2 ½ carb, 1 ½ medium-fat protein, 2 fat.
Easy Cheese Soufflé/Flan
Note: This can be increased and placed in a larger baking dish or with two gratin dishes. From “A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen With Shorey,” by Jacques Pépin.
• 1 (16-oz.) container cottage cheese
• 1 (8-oz.) container whipped cream cheese
• 4 eggs
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 3 tbsp. minced fresh chives
• 1 tsp. olive oil
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Place cottage cheese, cream cheese, eggs, salt and pepper in a food processor and process for 10 to 15 seconds. Add chives and process again.
Rub a 4- to 5-cup gratin dish with the olive oil and fill with the egg mixture. Place gratin dish on a baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until soufflé/flan is just set. Serve immediately, or allow to deflate and serve lukewarm.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 400 Fat 31 g Sodium 800 mg
Carbohydrates 8 g Saturated fat 15 g Total sugars 6 g
Protein 22 g Cholesterol 260 mg Dietary fiber 0 g
Exchanges per serving: ½ carb, 3 medium-fat protein, 3 fat.
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict With Potato Pancakes and Avocado Hollandaise
Note: From “Great Tastes,” by Danielle and Laura Kosann.
• Lemon-Dill Mash Potato Cakes (see recipe)
• 2 small Haas avocados
• 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
• Kosher salt
• 8 eggs
• 8 oz. thinly sliced smoked salmon
• Chopped dill, for garnish
• Freshly cracked pepper, for garnish
To make Avocado Hollandaise: In a blender, combine avocados, lemon juice and 3/4 cup water, and pulse until the avocado is finely chopped. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes to purée, scraping down the sides as needed. With motor running, stream in olive oil. Season with salt. If making ahead, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.
To make poached eggs: Bring large pot of water to a very slight simmer over medium heat (reduce heat as needed to maintain slight simmer). Arrange paper towels on plate and place nearby. Crack 1 egg into fine-mesh strainer set over bowl and shake gently to remove excess liquid. Transfer egg to small bowl or ramekin. Repeat with second egg and place it in separate bowl.
Stir the pot of water to create a vortex, then quickly slip in the 2 eggs, 1 egg at a time, and poach until the whites are opaque throughout and the yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the paper towels. Repeat process with remaining eggs until you have poached all the eggs.
(If you feel comfortable, poach more than 2 eggs at a time. If working ahead, transfer poached eggs to a bowl of ice water and refrigerate overnight. To reheat, fill a clean pot with water and heat until very warm. Submerge eggs in the water for about 1 minute, then use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water.)
To assemble: Divide potato cakes among 4 plates. Top with smoked salmon, followed by poached eggs. Drizzle each with the hollandaise, garnish with dill, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired.
Nutrition information per serving (without potato cakes):
Calories 445 Fat 36 g Sodium 510 mg
Carbohydrates 7 g Saturated fat 7 g Total sugars 2 g
Protein 24 g Cholesterol 390 mg Dietary fiber 4 g
Exchanges per serving: ½ carb, 3 ½ medium-fat protein, 3 ½ fat.
Lemon-Dill Mashed Potato Cakes
Makes 8 cakes.
Note: These take the place of the muffin in the eggs Benedict. From “Great Tastes,” by Danielle and Laura Kosann.
• 2 lb. potatoes (any kind), peeled and cut into 1- to 2-in. pieces
• 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
• 1/4 c. grated onion
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1/4 c. yogurt (whole milk or 2 percent)
• 3 tbsp. flour
• 1/4 c. finely chopped dill
• Grated zest of 1 lemon
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 2 tbsp. neutral oil
In large saucepan, cover potatoes with water and add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil over high heat and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to pan. Cook over medium heat until dry, about 1 minute. Mash potatoes and let cool to room temperature or refrigerate overnight.
Add onion, egg, yogurt, flour, dill, lemon zest, pepper to taste and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to the mashed potatoes. Stir until incorporated, adding a little more flour if the mixture seems wet or a little more yogurt if the mixture seems dry.
In large skillet, melt butter in the oil over medium-high heat. Scoop 4 heaping 1/3 cups of the mixture into the skillet and cook until the cakes are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook until bottoms are a deep golden brown, about 4 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high, flip the cakes, and cook for 2 minutes followed by another 4 minutes on medium-low heat. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with the reminding mixture, adding more oil if necessary to make 8 cakes total. Serve hot or warm.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 160 Fat 6 g Sodium 620 mg
Carbohydrates 24 g Saturated fat 2 g Total sugars 2 g
Protein 3 g Cholesterol 30 mg Dietary fiber 2 g
Exchanges per serving: 1 ½ starch, 1 fat.
Frittata With Greens, Tomato and Feta
Note: Increase the recipe (and pan size) for additional servings and/or serve with smaller portions if this is for an expansive brunch. From “The All-New Fresh Food Fast,” by the editors of Cooking Light.
• 4 eggs
• 1/2 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
• 1 tbsp. low-fat milk
• 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/4 tsp. black pepper
• 1 tsp. olive oil
• 1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
• 2 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
• Fresh parsley or fresh basil, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together eggs, spinach, milk, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Set aside.
Heat oil in medium-sized nonstick ovenproof skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add egg mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until eggs begin to set, about 2 minutes.
Top evenly with tomato slices and feta. Bake in preheated oven until set and the top is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley or basil, if you like. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 225 Fat 15 g Sodium 500 mg
Carbohydrates 5 g Saturated fat 5 g Total sugars 3 g
Protein 16 g Cholesterol 380 mg Dietary fiber 2 g
Exchanges per serving: ½ carb, 2 medium-fat protein, 1 fat.
Roasted Asparagus Salad With Chopped Egg
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: From “The Home Cook,” by Alex Guarnaschelli.
• 4 eggs
• 6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
• Juice of 2 lemons
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tbsp. canola oil
• 1 lb. pencil-sized asparagus, ends trimmed
• 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
To hard-cook the eggs: Put the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and reduce heat so that the water simmers gently. Once it is simmering, cook for 11 minutes. Drain the water from the eggs and run a steady stream of cold water over them to stop them from overcooking
To make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sesame seeds and lemon juice.
To marinate the eggs: Peel the eggs and rinse them under cold water to remove any remaining bits of shell. Roughly chop the eggs. Transfer to a medium bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper, and drizzle a little of the vinaigrette over them.
To cook the asparagus and finish the salad: Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the canola oil. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, remove the skillet from the heat and add the asparagus in a single layer. Season the spears with salt and dust with cayenne. Return pan to high heat and cook asparagus until they brown slightly and become tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and arrange the asparagus on a serving platter. Spoon the remaining vinaigrette over them and top with the eggs. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:
Calories 185 Fat 18 g Sodium 40 mg
Carbohydrates 3 g Saturated fat 3 g Total sugars 1 g
Protein 4 g Cholesterol 95 mg Dietary fiber 1 g
Exchanges per serving: ½ medium-fat protein, 3 fat.