By Tom Havran
Sunday is funday because it’s the traditional day for brunch — the best meal ever invented! It’s breakfast for lunch and lunch for breakfast.You can sleep in past breakfast time and still get a breakfast you can linger over for as long as you want. When brunch is done and you say goodbye to your dining companions, you still have the rest of the day for yourself. (I suggest a nap.)
Brunch on a Sunday is the best way to celebrate the end of one week and the beginning of a new one. But most of all, brunch is the best meal because of the food — which can be light and healthy, a decadent weekend indulgence, or a mix of both kinds of fare (my preference). I break the ultimate brunch down into seven courses:
1. Eggs. I like them fresh and local, scrambled soft or sunny side up with buttered multigrain toast. For the fluffiest scrambled eggs, separate the whites and whip them to soft peaks. Whisk the yolks, then fold them into the whites. Scramble the egg mixture in a buttered skillet (no need to add cream or milk), then season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. For best flavor, remove from heat and serve on warm plates while still creamy but not runny. I also love egg dishes, like this Asparagus Frittata with Thyme.
2. Pastry. Pancakes (blueberry/buttermilk please!), crepes, cinnamon rolls, scones, Danishes or poppy seed kolaches are all excellent with coffee or tea. If you’re feeding a crowd, try Honey and Cardamom Baked French Toast with Vanilla Bean Coconut Cream to serve up something special without a lot of work — it is Sunday, after all.
3. Potatoes. I used to work at a traditional, family-style German restaurant, and I learned how to fry the crispiest, most delicious potatoes imaginable. Here’s how:
- Choose a starchy variety of potato, such as Russet or Yukon Gold. Wash the potatoes, but leave the skins on.
- Boil the potatoes until knife-tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Slip the skins off and slice the potatoes into 1/8-inch thick rounds.
- Preheat a well-seasoned heavy cast iron skillet so it’s screaming hot. Pour in a liberal amount of high heat oil, such as organic grapeseed or canola.
- Liberally salt the hot oil, then add the potatoes and more salt over the top. Leave the potatoes to cook until they are brown and crispy, then flip the mass in manageable sections and brown the other side.
- Use the spatula to chop and toss the potatoes, keeping them moving until they are thoroughly mixed and heated through.
4. Entrée. This really should be served in two parts with breakfast meeting lunch! Fix a breakfast entrée such as sausage or bacon, along with a substantial lunch entrée such as ham, roast, chicken or fish. Accompany with a vegetarian option and veggie sides.
5. Salads. A good opportunity to introduce something fresh and lively, salads can include greens, veggies and fresh fruit. I like a simple spring mesclun with a drizzle of fine olive oil and red wine vinegar. Also great for spring is a cold pasta salad with tender asparagus or this Spinach, Strawberry and Avocado Fruit Salad with Orange Ginger Vinaigrette.
6. Bloody Mary. Make these special with freshly juiced and strained organic heirloom or hothouse tomatoes. Use a mix of varieties to yield a more complex flavor. (I like to make a lot during the summer tomato glut and freeze the juice.) Set up a Bloody Mary buffet with a pitcher of juice, vodka, celery, scallions, pickled vegetables, cucumbers, capers, olives, dill spears, hot sauces, Worcestershire and seasonings — smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Consider including less common spices like the Garam Masala and chipotle used in our Bloody Eyeball recipe.
7. Dessert. Trifle is my favorite brunch dessert; I think it’s the best way to enjoy fresh spring strawberries. Trifle manages to be decadent but still fresh and lively, elegant but not fussy or snobbish. It’s also easy to assemble using a bakery-purchased sponge cake, homemade vanilla custard, sweet sherry and seasonal fruit.
What makes brunch the best meal ever invented for you?
About the author: Tom is communicator of natural living for Frontier, Simply Organic and Aura Cacia brands. In other words, he’s a very imaginative copywriter. A local boy, raised on a farm just down the road from the company’s headquarters in Norway, Tom enjoys drawing, plant hoarding, cooking and living the simple life in the beautiful state of Iowa.