Bruschetta With Eggs and LobsterServes 8.
Note: Bruschetta (broo-SKEH-tah) is a traditional toasted bread topped with something tasty. If you cut the bread on the diagonal, you will get more surface. You can toast the bread an hour or so in advance, but the eggs and lobster need to be cooked right before serving. Each 5-ounce lobster tail will provide 4 ounces of meat. Boursin is a creamy soft cheese with the texture of cream cheese, which comes flavored with herbs. It's a tasty alternative to cream cheese. For large soft curds of eggs, keep your stirring to a minimum.
• 1 baguette, cut in 16 (1/2 -in.) slices
• 1 garlic clove, peeled
• 2 or more (5 oz. each) lobster tails (defrosted, if frozen)
• 14 eggs, beaten until yolks and whites are well-combined
• 4 oz. cream cheese, cut into small cubes (or boursin cheese, see Note)
• Fresh chives, chopped
• Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
• Truffle oil
Toast bread in oven or in toaster. Rub one side of each slice with garlic (if you don't like garlic, omit this). Butter and set aside.
Prepare the lobster: Do this before you start the eggs so there isn't too much going on at the same time. To remove meat from shell, use a kitchen shears to make 2 cuts along the underside of tail (the softer side) and break away the shell. Once the meat is out of shell (before or after it is cooked), remove the black vein that runs along the tail (pull it out or make a cut along the meat, as you would to devein shrimp, and pull the vein out).
Choice of options for cooking lobster:
• Remove meat from shell and sauté whole in 2 tablespoons butter, basting it often, for about 5 to 8 minutes, until cooked through, then chop or slice for the eggs, or
• Remove uncooked meat from shell and chop into chunks and sauté in 2 tablespoons butter before adding to the eggs, or
• Poach meat in the shell for about 3 minutes in water to which some white wine, carrot, celery, onion, chile flakes, fennel seed, mustard seed, peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme, kosher salt and lemon and oranges have been added. (Bring the water to a simmer before adding the tail.) This is how Bar La Grassa prepares its whole live lobster, which is used in this dish (for its specific proportions, see startribune.com/tabletalk). After the tail is cooked, the meat is removed from the shell and cut into chunks for the eggs.
To prepare the eggs: In each of 2 nonstick pans (or 1 large pan), melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add eggs and turn heat to medium-low. For the largest curds, cook eggs with little stirring, instead pushing cooked part aside with a spatula and allowing uncooked eggs to move into place. When almost done, add cream cheese and stir. Remove from heat. (Eggs will continue to cook.)
To serve: On each plate, overlap 2 slices of toasted bread. Divide eggs and place on toast. Top with lobster and sprinkle with chives, a little salt and pepper. Drizzle a bit of truffle oil over eggs, if using. Serve.
Variations (instead of lobster):
• Smoked salmon, topped with fresh dill instead of chives.
• Cooked crabmeat (not the fake stuff, please!).
• Small or medium-size cooked shrimp.
• Cooked white fish.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 375 Fat 26 g Sodium 500 mg
Carbohydrates 13 g Saturated fat 13 g Calcium 93 mg
Protein 22 g Cholesterol 440 mg Dietary fiber 0 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 3 medium-fat meat, 2 fat.
Keep the salad simple as there is enough complexity with the eggs.
• 3 to 4 c. butterhead lettuce leaves, or mix of other greens (such as frisée)
• Radishes, thinly sliced
• Small grape-size tomatoes, optional
• 1/4 c. olive oil
• 1/3 c. white wine vinegar
• Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Place a handful of lettuce leaves on the individual brunch plates with the eggs. Scatter a few radish slices and tiny tomatoes.
To make vinaigrette, whisk in olive oil to the wine vinegar. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle on the salad.
Roasted AsparagusServes 8.
Note: If you have something else roasting in the oven, the asparagus can be cooked at that particular temperature. If you have light eaters, a single pound of asparagus will suffice.
• 1 to 2 lb. asparagus (see Note)
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
• Strips of lemon peel, for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Snap off the tough ends of asparagus, and discard or save for soup. Toss asparagus in olive oil. Place asparagus in low pan in oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing occasionally, until tender (time depends on size of asparagus and your definition of "tender"). Sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature with garnish of lemon peel.
Nutrition information per serving (with 2 pounds for 8 servings):
Calories 42 Fat 3 g Sodium 1 mg
Carbohydrates 2 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 15 mg
Protein 1 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 1 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 fat.
Almond Cake With Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce
Makes 1 tube cake (20 servings).
Note: Almond paste comes in a tube, in the baking section of supermarkets. It's not critical to the recipe and can be omitted, but it will add an extra layer of almond flavor (if you don't use it, lessen the milk by 2 tablespoons). The cake can be made up to a day in advance, or longerif frozen. Adapted from "Come One, Come All/ Easy Entertaining With Seasonal Menus," by Lee Svitak Dean.
• 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
• 7 oz. (3/4 c. ) almond paste (see Note)
• 2 c. sugar
• 6 eggs, separated
• 11/2 c. flour
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 c. milk
• 1 tbsp. almond extract
• Powdered sugar
• Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and almond paste thoroughly. Add sugar slowly and continue beating until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one at a time.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder thoroughly.
In a cup or small bowl, combine milk and almond extract.
Add one-third of flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir gently but thoroughly; add one-third of milk mixture and stir gently but thoroughly. Continue to add flour mixture and milk alternately until all has been incorporated into the batter.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry; gently fold into batter thoroughly.
Spoon into well-greased, 10-cup tube pan (an angel food cake pan or Bundt pan) or in 2 loaf pans. Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes (slightly less for loaf pans), or until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in pan for 10 minutes.
Loosen cake gently around rim and tube. Cool completely before removing from pan. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 267 Fat 13 g
Saturated fat 7 g Sodium 195 mg
Carbohydrates 33 g Calcium 60 mg
Protein 4 g Cholesterol 88 mg Dietary fiber 1 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1 other carb, 2 1/2 fat.
Makes about 2 cups.
Note: Make this the same day it is served for the best color and texture. Zest is the colored part of the skin on citrus fruit (not the white pith, which is bitter). Don't like rhubarb? Just use strawberries.
• 2 c. (1 pint) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
•1/4 c. sugar
• 2 c. chopped (1/4 -in. pieces) rhubarb (2 large stalks), fresh or frozen
• Juice and zest from 1 orange (about 1/4 c. orange juice and 1 tbsp. orange zest)
In a medium bowl, toss sliced strawberries with sugar; set aside. In a medium pot, combine rhubarb and orange juice and, over low heat, bring to a simmer. Cook rhubarb until barely soft, about 5 minutes -- do not overcook or the color turns gray. (Or cook in a microwave.) Set aside to cool slightly. Add cooled rhubarb to strawberries and toss with orange zest. Serve over cake or ice cream.