I’m not an early riser. Nor an early diner. Brunch suits me just fine, whatever the day of week.
And when spring comes along, those inclinations are ramped up. Call it spring fever. I’m ready to break my fast in the most glorious of ways — in late morning, of course, always with an egg, in one form or another, center plate.
Could there be a more civilized meal? As diners, we are fully awake, famished and dressed for the day — without a cereal bowl in sight. What more could a cook want?
Here we give you a fresh start with recipes that suit the occasion, whether for Easter, Mother’s Day or any upcoming occasion that means gathering around the table when the sunlight is in full bloom. Consider baked French toast or a bacon-cheese strata. Maybe a potato frittata or orange hollandaise over roasted asparagus. With any, we are set to glory in the morning. Welcome, spring. Let’s eat.
Roasted Asparagus With Poached Eggs and Orange Hollandaise
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: Adapted from “Mildreds: The Cookbook,” by Mitchell Beazley.
• 16 asparagus spears
• Sea salt flakes
• 1/4 c. olive oil
• 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
• 4 to 6 eggs
• Freshly cracked black pepper
Orange hollandaise (makes 1 cup):
• 8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter
• 3 egg yolks
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• Pinch dry mustard
• 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice, or more to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick parchment paper.
To prepare asparagus: Snap off the woody base of the stalks. Place the asparagus on the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with sea salt flakes, and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 10 minutes, or until the asparagus spears are tender but still firm.
To prepare hollanaise sauce: Melt butter; do not let it brown. Combine egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoon salt, dry mustard and orange juice in blender and turn on the machine. Drizzle in the butter. The mixture will thicken. Taste and add more orange juice, if preferred. Transfer to a container to serve, or keep warm by placing the sauce in a bowl and nesting the bowl in a larger bowl filled with very hot water, stirring occasionally, for up to 30 minutes.
To prepare eggs: Bring large saucepan of water to boil and lower the heat to bring it to a rolling simmer. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar and give the water a light clockwise swirl with a spoon. Crack one of the eggs into a cup and pour it into the water. Repeat with remaining eggs and poach for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks are still soft. Lift out the eggs with a slotted spoon and set them on a clean dish towel to drain.
To serve: Divide asparagus spears between plates, drizzle with hollandaise and place an egg on top of each serving. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.
Nutrition information per serving of 6:
Calories 330 Fat 32 g Sodium 470 mg
Carbohydrates 3 g Saturated fat 13 g Total sugars............... 1 g
Protein 9 g Cholesterol 320 mg Dietary fiber.............. 1 g
Exchanges per serving: 1 medium-fat protein, 5½ fat.
Cinnamon-Raisin Baked French Toast
Note: Adapted from “Weight Watchers Family Meals,” which uses fat-free half-and-half.
• 8 slices cinnamon-swirl raisin bread, halved on diagonal
• 6 eggs
• 1 c. half-and-half
• 3 tbsp. turbinado sugar, divided
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
• Pinch nutmeg
• Pinch salt
• 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
Spray an 8- by 11-inch baking dish or casserole dish with nonstick spray.
Arrange bread in prepared baking dish, overlapping slices if needed.
Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 2 tablespoons sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread, lightly pressing bread to help it absorb egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Uncover dish and sprinkle French toast with remaining 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar. Bake until puffed and browned, about 35 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 190 Fat 9 g Sodium 170 mg
Carbohydrates 21 g Saturated fat 4 g Total sugars............... 9 g
Protein 8 g Cholesterol 150 mg Dietary fiber.............. 1 g
Exchanges per serving: 1 carb, 1 medium-fat protein, 1 fat.
Bacon and Cheddar Strata
Note: Adapted from “Weight Watchers Family Meals.”
• 2 tsp. canola oil
• 4 slices turkey bacon, cut into 1/4-in. pieces
• 2 c. (1-in.) pieces asparagus or diced green bell pepper
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 6 slices whole wheat bread
• 4 eggs
• 5 egg whites
• 3/4 c. milk
• 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. black pepper
• 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
• 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add asparagus and onion; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate and keep warm.
Spray same skillet with nonstick spray. Arrange slices of bread in bottom of skillet, fitting them snugly and overlapping as needed.
Whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk, mustard, salt and pepper in medium bowl; pour over bread, allowing milk mixture to soak in. Sprinkle bread with 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Set skillet over medium heat and cook, shaking pan frequently, until egg mixture is almost cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Place skillet under broiler 5 inches from heat and broil until egg mixture is set, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from broiler (leave broiler on); top bread with bacon-vegetable mixture, Cheddar and remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Return to broiler until Cheddar is melted, about 2 minutes.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 300 Fat 16 g Sodium 810 mg
Carbohydrates 18 g Saturated fat 6 g Total sugars............... 5 g
Protein 21 g Cholesterol 160 mg Dietary fiber.............. 3 g
Exchanges per serving: 1 starch, 2½ medium-fat protein, ½ fat.
Tortilla de Huevo (Mexican-style Potato Frittata)
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: From “Brooklyn Bar Bites,” by Barbara Scott-Goodman.
• 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
• 2 large russet potatoes (about 1 lb.), peeled and thinly sliced
• kosher salt
• 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
• 1 small jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
• 6 eggs
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an 8-inch nonstick pan over high heat. Add potatoes and pinch of salt and stir gently to coat potatoes evenly. Cover pan and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover and stir again, turning potatoes so they will brown evenly. Cover pan and cook for 4 minutes more.
Add onion and jalapeño pepper and cook, uncovered, for 7 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. The potatoes should be golden brown and tender. Drain some of the excess oil from the potatoes and let cool slightly.
Lightly beat the eggs in large bowl with a pinch of salt. Add the potato mixture and gently stir.
Wipe out pan with paper towels and heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil over high heat. Pour in potato-and-egg mixture and scramble briskly for about 1 1/2 minutes, or until the eggs begin to set. Reduce heat to very low, and tap the pan firmly to release the tortilla. Cook for 5 minutes.
Slide the tortilla onto a lightly oiled plate, then invert it back into the pan and cook until it is slightly browned on the second side and the middle of the tortilla is still soft, 2 to 5 minutes.
Slide tortilla onto a serving plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve whole or cut into wedges.
Nutrition information per serving of 8:
Calories 220 Fat 14 g Sodium 230 mg
Carbohydrates 16 g Saturated fat 3 g Total sugars............... 1 g
Protein 6 g Cholesterol 140 mg Dietary fiber.............. 2 g
Exchanges per serving: 1 carb, 1 medium-fat protein, 2 fat.