Brunch may be the quintessential meal. It falls just late enough that you can sleep in and early enough that you are not starving by mealtime. Proper brunch times fall between 11am and 2pm. Some places I have noticed even serve until 4pm. What makes brunch so fantastic is that one is able to order a lunch appropriate meal or stick with breakfast. I think it is best to start the day off right and keep with breakfast.
I believe the tastiest brunch I ever had I shared with D and my friend S, who I have known since kindergarten, back when she was sporting a very retro beehive. This occurred this past summer when S was in New York for a visit with her boyfriend of the time, a very nice Frenchman. The visit fell perfectly upon a recently acquired Washington wild smoked salmon, gifted from E. With it, I made an omelet of portabella mushrooms, asparagus and smoked salmon (added at the very last to keep it uncooked but just warm). This was served with fresh bread from my local bakery. We also had the pleasure of a very nice bottle of French Champagne brought by the very nice Frenchman, which we popped open with joy, and that soon produced a ring of horror on his face when we added fresh orange juice to make mimosas.
It is always a pleasure to have a light Mimosa or a hearty Bloody Mary with the meal—hair of the dog, and all. This morning, I would forgo the pleasures of the above mentioned and stick with coffee, the only way it should be made: with a French press. To feast on this Sunday we would tempt the palate with Eggs Florentine (sans Hollindaise Sauce, I’m not really a fan, but can make a pretty darn good one if I do say so myself) with good breakfast sausage (Jimmy Dean, imported from Virginia since it is unavailable here in New York. My butcher does not even carry breakfast sausage—only spicy Italian types and the grocery only has those horrendous frozen links).
For many, poaching eggs is terrifying business. A few months back, I found this great website by a brave fellow who attempts all the tricks of the trade for those of us without the poaching kitchen gadget. I would have to agree that his egg wrapped in plastic wrap is probably the best method. Make sure to cook the egg a scarce 3 min or you will have more egg on the wrap than your plate. For today’s eggs, I used my own method, slightly similar to the one I found here (which I will have to try next time) and will be described below.
EGGS FLORENTINE w/ BREAKFAST SAUSAGEServes 2
4 slices breakfast sausage patties
2 generous handfuls fresh spinach
1 generous tab of good butter (about 1 Tbl)
2 English Muffins
salt/ pepper to taste
1) Warm a small skillet on medium-high heat. Add the sausage. Keep an eye on the sausage while you continue the process and allow it to brown.
2) Begin to toast the English Muffins to desired crispness
3) While the sausage and muffins are going, take a large (10-12 inch diameter) skillet. Fill it about ½ inch up the sides with water and on medium heat, allow to a simmer. Once simmering, crack and gently place the eggs into the water. Cover and let sit about 3 min for medium runny eggs (adjust time for preferred yolk results).
4) While the eggs cook, in a medium pot (or another large skillet) melt the tab of butter on medium-low heat. Add the spinach, cover and allow to wilt, stirring occasionally (3-4 min).
4) Once sausage is done, wrap it in a paper towel to take some of the grease off. Put the English Muffin on your plate, open and place one egg on each half. Cover with a heap of spinach and fresh cracked pepper. Place sausage on the side and enjoy with fresh coffee, mimosas or a Bloody Mary.
And even though I did not have one, here is a bonus recipe:
CLASSIC BLOODY MARY1 oz vodka
1-½ cups good tomato juice (Clamato juice is also very tasty and adds a good clam saltiness)
dash of Worcester sauce
2-3 dash of Tabasco sauce (or other favorite hot sauce)
2 tsp white horseradish
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2-3 grinds fresh pepper
dash of celery salt
2 green olives as garnish or pickled green bean
1) Fill cup with ice, and add all ingredients (if using olives you can also add about 1 tsp olive juice). Mix well and enjoy.