It's A Keeper: Easter Brunch

Three out of four ain't bad, right? I made Rachael Ray's Easter Brunch menu (called Easy Yet Elegant Sunday Brunch in Get Togethers) and of the four recipes, three were huge hits and the fourth failed because I am a rookie cook. Hey, you live and learn. And if that doesn't work, just serve mimosas. That works too.

The menu included Roasted Red New Potatoes with Sweet Paprika Butter and Parsley, Elsa's Ham and Asparagus Toasts, Broiled Citrus Salad with Cointreau and Brown Sugar and Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon (although I used ham, not salmon).

The recipe that didn't turn out was the Broiled Citrus Salad, but it was entirely my fault. I thought I was being a smart cook by putting the brown sugar on top before I was ready to put it in the oven. What actually happened was that the sugar dissolved, so there was nothing to get all caramelized and yummy on the top. E for effort.

The rest of the recipes, especially the toast, were huge hit and got quickly gobbled up. I can't tell you how long it took, not because of the mimosas, but because there was a required Starbucks run about halfway through the cooking process, so my sous chef husband was off duty. But it probably took about 45 minutes total, with my husband making the eggs. This would be a great menu for a baby shower, wedding shower, or any time you need an easy but elegant menu. Here are the recipes (6 servings) with my comments in brackets:

Elsa's Ham and Asparagus Toasts

1 pound thin asparagus spears
Salt
1 loaf chewy, crusty farmhouse style white bread, cut into 3/4-inch slices [The cookbook says 1-inch slice, not sure if that makes a difference.]
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 tablespoons Dijon or grain mustard [I highly recommend the dijon.]
1 1/4 pounds boiled, baked or smoked ham, order thick slices at deli counter [I went with the honey cured ham
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fontina, shredded or sliced [You can find fontina in the specialty cheese case.]

Holding 1 spear at each end snap off the tough stem of asparagus. Use this spear as a guide line to trim the bundle with a sharp knife. Simmer asparagus in salted boiling water 3 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Cut asparagus to fit the size of the toasts.

Toast 8 thick slices of farmhouse style bread under a preheated broiler 6 inches from heat. Combine softened butter and mustard. Spread the toasted bread with mustard butter. Cut sliced ham into smaller pieces to process. Grind the ham in your food processor. Spread the toast with ground ham. Arrange steamed asparagus spears on top of the layer of ham.

Top each toast with a few grinds of black pepper and a mound of fontina cheese. [I forgot the pepper but remembered at the last minute.] Return toasts to hot oven under broiler and cook toasts until cheese melts and lightly browns at edges. Arrange ham and asparagus toast on a platter and serve.

Roasted Red New Potatoes with Sweet Paprika Butter and Parsley

3 pounds small red new potatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 stick butter [Any recipe with a half stick of butter is, by definition, good.]
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Sort potatoes. Potatoes that are 2 inches or less in diameter can be left whole. Halve remaining potatoes. Coat very lightly with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and roast potatoes 20 to 25 minutes, until just tender. Transfer potatoes from the oven to a bowl.

Sprinkle in parsley and season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes with butter and paprika to coat evenly. Adjust salt and pepper, to your taste, and serve. [So easy that I don't even have any comments.]

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon [Make sure you start these last so that they're nice and hot.]

1/4 pound sliced smoked salmon [I went with ham instead, since it was a Easter brunch.]
12 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
12 to 15 blades of fresh chives, finely chopped

Reserve 2 slices of salmon for garnish. Chop the remaining salmon into very small pieces.

Whisk your eggs and cream together. Add 1/2 of your chopped chives and season eggs with salt and pepper. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt butter in the pan and add eggs. Scramble eggs with a wooden spoon. Do not cook eggs until dry. When eggs have come together but remain wet, stir in chopped salmon. Remove pan from the stove and place on a trivet. Garnish the eggs with remaining salmon and chives and serve right out of the warm pan.

Note: If you are serving these eggs with the other recipes provided as a brunch, a platter of store bought fruit filled dainties will complete your elegant brunch. Allow 1 dainty per person but halve dainties so that guests may mix and match varieties. [I served it with banana nut and blueberry muffins. These were good for snacking on while I cooked.]

3 comments:

  1. Ooh those new potatoes and eggs sound great- I haven't tried paprika on my new potatoes before, I will definitely have to give it a try someday!

    I too would have substituted ham for the salmon, myself!

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  2. The toasts and potatoes look delish.

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  3. Jennifer - it was one of those "I can't believe I made this" meals for me. Although, most meals are that for me.

    Cate - They certainly were. Now I have to learn how to set the table as nicely as you do.

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