Lately, I find myself reminiscing about all the amazing post-Christmas and New Year’s Day brunches my friends have stumbled into in various states of hangover and undress in the past years. And over time, I found myself suffering from ennui about what the hell to do with eggs. Brunch = eggs, but I find them a pain in the arse to cook while people are here.
But these recipes can be prepared for one or two this year and, in the post-apocalyptic landscape we hope for next year, scaled up for a crowd. Best of all, none of these will cost a bundle, and every single one goes well with leftover champs and OJ. They’re all make-ahead, pull-out-of-the-oven-when-your-friends-arrive dishes, and all of them are eggcelent.
Shhhh. Let me have my wordplay. It’s been a year.
Hash Brown Crusted Goat Cheese Quiche
I recently castigated Martha Stewart, so it makes sense to offer her redemption — I’m sure she was waiting for it. I’ve been making this recipe for 10 years and it’s a showstopper that just works every time.
It caught my eye mostly because Martha suggested you start with frozen hash browns, to which I actually gasped out loud. The recipe itself didn’t wow me when I first trialed it–it was too dense and not very quiche-like — but with some alterations it became what it was always meant to be: light, fluffy, and balanced. So I guess what I’m saying is yes, I fixed Martha’s mistakes. You’re welcome, boss.
- 1 kg of potatoes
- 3 tablespoon salt
- 12 eggs
- 115 g goat cheese
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon red pepper powder
- 2 tablespoon butter
- Wax paper
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup cottage cheese
- 2 green onions
Peel and grate 1 kg of potatoes (or throw them in the Cuisinart if you have one with a grater attachment). Boil them in salted water for 10 minutes, then toss in a strainer and rinse with cold water for 2-3 minutes. Then let them sit, then squeeze them as dry as possible between paper towels, and toss with 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, a teaspoon of paprika, a pinch of red pepper powder, and 2 tablespoons of soft butter.
Take a springform pan, butter the shit out of it, and line the sides with parchment or wax paper, only as high as the sides of the pan, and just the sides, not the bottom. Butter the shit of the paper too, and the bottom. Now pat the potatoes in a thin layer covering the bottom and up the sides. To get that nice fringe top, ignore neatness as a concept and make sure the potatoes poke out the top. Pat it down pretty well, then put it into a 190-degree oven for about 30 minutes. It won’t get golden, but the tops should start to get some colour.
Meanwhile, combine 11 eggs, 1 cup sour cream, 115 g room-temp goat cheese, and 1/2 cup of cottage cheese. Salt and pepper really well, then whip the mixture until fluffy. Pour the mixture into the prepared potato crust, and sprinkle 2 sliced green onions on top. Bake on a cookie sheet for 45 minutes, or until the middle only jiggles slightly when jostled. Release the springform, peel off the paper, and serve.
Maple French Toast Egg Cradles on Bacon
French toast has this special place in my heart. Rarely content with “good,” I found myself wondering about a french toast egg in a hole, because what isn’t improved by a runny yolk? The only thing missing from the perfection of the above was the glaring absence of crispy pig parts.
Bacon, a food that is perfect in its natural state, can also be a bit floopy. It’s not aesthetic, and doesn’t complement the graphic design of the plate it’s on. I’ve long sought to fix this annoyance by using broken or halved bacon. But bacon hashtags is truly a moment of brilliance. These suckers also travel super well if brunch won’t be at your house.
- 4 slices of bacon for each person.
- 1 slice Texas toast per person
- 1 egg per person, plus eggs for the batter
- Maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 dash of salt
- 1 cup of milk
Preheat oven to 180°C. First, make a bacon hashtag for each person. Start by laying the four pieces crosswise. Now weave them like you would a box top. Tuck all the top pieces under. Tuck the bottom pieces in. Place this on a broiler sheet, so the bacon grease can drip away, and bake for 25 minutes until brown and toasty.
Take your Texas toast and, using a spoon and a knife, scoop out the middle of each piece of bread. Whip the eggs for the batter, along with the milk, some syrup, the cinnamon, and the vanilla. Dip each piece of bread into the batter, then place in a skillet over medium high heat with the butter and the oil. Start with the cavity on the top, because you want the bottom to get nice and crispy so it doesn’t collapse when you turn it over.
Now place a bacon hashtag on the sheet, top with a piece of french toast, and break an egg into each and top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Back into the oven! Cook until the egg is opaque in the centre. If you’d like, slash the yolk, and serve!
Coddled eggs in a jar
Everything about the term “coddled eggs” seems indulgent. (Why are we coddling them? Did they have a hard day? We’re already going to put them in a twee jar, is that not enough?) And that’s precisely what this recipe is — indulgent. Sure, we throw in some vegetables to balance things, but when you add eggs, cream, bacon and cheese, it’s hard to come out with something untoward.
- 4 strips of bacon or 170 g of pancetta
- 1 tablespoon pickled onions
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 ounce whipping cream
- 4 tablespoon shredded gruyere
- 4-5 large swiss chard leaves
- 1 shallot
- 4 tablespoon bread crumbs
- 4 eggs
- Optional: 1 hot pepper or chilli flakes
- Two 115 g jars with lids
Butter your clean jars really well. Now cube the pancetta or bacon, fry it until crisp, and remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the grease behind. Mix the bacon with your pickled onions and layer in bottom of the jars. Pour an ounce of cream into each jar and layer in half of the gruyere.
Rough chop your Swiss chard, and sauté with diced or sliced shallots in the bacon fat until well withered, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Layer the chard into the jars. Layer the breadcrumbs into the jars, and then the rest of the cheese.
Crack two eggs into each jar, and sprinkle chopped chives on top. If you’d like to, you can add some chopped pepper or chilli flakes for heat. Now screw the lids on tight.
You’re going to cook these in a water bath, so any pan where the water can cover the jars is fine. Add a kitchen towel to the bottom of the pan to protect the jars. Let the water come to a boil, then lower to a simmer and carefully place the jars in the pan on the towel and cover with the lid. Cook for 8-9 minutes for a runnier yolk. Unscrew the tops and serve immediately with a spoon. If you prefer a more set yolk, you can let them sit with their lids on for 1-2 minutes.
Each of these recipes is indulgent in its own way and each of them serves the whole meal. You could serve these and nothing else and everyone would walk away from your brunch satisfied, especially if you supplement with a bit of bubbly.