When I think of the weekend, I think of two things: Friday night and Sunday morning. It’s almost as if Saturday gets lost in the shuffle. I would feel bad about it if it weren’t for the fact that Sunday has such a bad rep and needs a champion in its corner! Here’s where brunch comes in. Sure, you can have brunch on Saturday but it’s not really brunch; it’s this imposter meal that eats like a brunch but talks like an afternoon time suck (if you do brunch right, you’re not doing much after).
Brunch is a commitment. You’re saying this is the most important part of your day and you’re with the people you wanted to spend the day with anyway. So let’s just sit here and luxuriate and not worry about the time.
When my husband heard that I sat at a table growing up and ate meals with my family most nights, without a tv, he looked at me like he just found some creature he read about. Nevermind the cloth napkins. He knew people like me existed but he hadn’t had to act like one. And then he promptly made it an impossibility to sit with him at the dinner table and make conversation. Impossibility in the sense that he’s not a small-talk kind of guy, presumably so I wouldn’t “get any ideas”. I am clever; I improvised. We have a table now in our bedroom that is a nice round table with two tufted chairs which we eat our meals at (in front of a large flatcreen tv).
Think “room service”.
It’s the best of both worlds: I can have my dignified meal at a table, and he has his tv. And infact, it has come in handy when watching a movie (dinner and a movie, anyone?) or Ina on Sundays.
On one particular Sunday, I decided I wanted something truly decadent. I don’t know what is more decadent for a brunch than smoked salmon (perhaps caviar?). So I decided I would create a meal that had some sort of balance in it: a high / low. Smoked salmon with Laughing Cow cheese over cucumbers with little springs of fresh dill. Red seedless grapes and Bosc pears. My soft creamy scrambled eggs with cream cheese and spinach, and baby yellow starchy potatoes with basil.
And then a nap.
You will need:
- Smoked salmon (there are different kinds and you will need to decide which you like the best. I prefer the lighter colored salmon in taste)
- Laughing Cow cheese (I think you can use any soft spreadable cheese you want however, this takes the guilt out of the meal a bit. Any flavor you prefer, they all, truth be told, taste so alike)
- Fresh dill (this is important and inexpensive)
- Seedless grapes (I chose red as they are more sumptuous and less tart than the green ones. I think that works better with the smoked fish)
- Bosc pears (these are a must whenever having cheese, they are fabulous)
- Cucumbers (some people have a preference between standard cucumbers and seed-less ones. I use standard as they’re a larger vegetable to work with)
- We use Egglands Best most often (any size)
- Cream cheese (full fat or low fat, either is fine)
- Spinach (already washed smaller leaves in a bag or container) (optional item)
- Avocado (optional)
- Little golden potatoes (very creamy and perfect for brunch)
- Basil (either fresh or dried)
When prepping your brunch with smoked salmon, you want to leave your salmon in the package as long as you can. Smoked salmon isn’t dry, it is common to have a meely type feel to your fingers after working with it. So, try to leave it for the end or, take it out and do everything you need to with it, set it aside, wash your hands and then touch everything else. When you do take your salmon out, it will be in strips but connected to a carboard piece. You can pull it apart by hand or you can cut it with kitchen sheers. I do both. You will see in the photo small chuncks of salmon on each cucumber disc. One bite-sized mouthful. So, I set aside pieces of salmon, wash my hands and then wash the cucumbers.
These cucumbers are going to be peeled however, I still feel they should be washed. If not only just to perpetuate a good habit of doing so with all your produce when you get home. After washing and peeling the cucumbers (I purchased two medium ones), decide how thick you want them. I cut a 1/4 inch, anything bigger and I don’t enjoy it. Unwrap your cheese. If you did get the Laughing Cow cheese, I used one triangle for every three cucumbers. You may want to use more or less.
Then the dill. You may see on your package it needs to be washed. If that is the case, try to do this ahead of time so it can sit and dry while you prep your food. Pull some springs off trying to keep as much of each spring intact as you can (just rests better on the salmon) and press down. It will stick to the oils of the fish beautifully.
In a sauté pan, put some butter if you have it or some oil if you don’t. If you have neither, use a little of of the cream cheese. What we’re trying to do here is create a slick surface for your eggs to rest and slowly cook in. Keep the pan on medium low. You will have to decide how many eggs you need to feed your family. Crack and whisk (you can use a fork) into a separate bowl, and when the pan feels hot and whatever you have used to coat the pan has melted, go ahead and throw in your eggs. Start moving them immediately with a spatula. You really should never use metal on metal so with that being said, a wooden spoon is fine as well.
What we want to do is keep the eggs from crisping on the bottom. These are going to be creamy and elegant, with a mouthfeel truly unique to this style of cooking eggs. You’ll know it when you taste it elsewhere. Without much time, you will notice the eggs starting to firm up. At this point keep stiring them into eachother, folding them like blankets and when you don’t see runny eggs still in the pan, turn off the heat and put in your cream cheese. This brings the temp down on the pan immediately and keeps the eggs soft. The cheese makes them creamy and adds an interesting flavor combination. Also at this time, add your spinach and stir it in with the eggs and cream cheese. You can certainly omit the spinach all together, I have. Based on how many eggs you have used, you will want to add and taste to see if you want to add more cheese. You can also salt and pepper at this time, or leave it out and for your family to add as they like.
The potatoes just need to be rinsed and cut in half or in quarters, depending on how big each one is. It’s easy to steam them but you may like your potatoes to be more of a hash style, with crispy bits. For these, I wanted them creamy so I kept them soft. You can do this by adding a bit of water to a sauté pan, putting in the potatoes and then closing over with a lid checking on them every once and a while. This will create steam. You can also keep the temp on medium with some olive oil in the pan, making sure to keep them from scalding anywhere by just moving them around frequently. Before serving, I ripped up some basil and mixed it in with the potatoes.
Typically there is some sort of bread or champagne with brunch… (another reason to love Sundays), but for this I just wanted appetizers, eggs and potatoes.
I may have decided I did infact, want to go do something later.
Below you will find the table setting for this meal. Plates and napkins from Pier 1. Metal cloche from Amazon. Crystal from Waterford. Two tier silver server from Wayfair.