BrunchPhotos and recipes by Katherine Costello | Food Styling by Kaylynn Nickander
I can’t say “brunch” without smiling because brunch is synonymous with fun. A few items are essential, in my book. Start with a truly fine coffee and then something more spirited. I prefer prosecco, either by itself or with a flavorful simple syrup — try elderberry. Then on to the cooking.
Many brunch items require last-minute work, but I want to enjoy the experience with my peeps rather than stand over a stove. While discussing this dilemma with my son, he suggested gravlax. I thought, “Sounds great, dude, but you’re a chef, and I want my readers to be able to do this.” He read my mind, explaining that it really was simple and just needed a bit of planning. I tried it, was pleased with its simplicity and loved the finished product. In fact, this entire menu proves you can lay out a flavorful, special spread that — best of all — you will be able to enjoy with your guests.
Biscuits & Scones
The recipes for biscuits and scones are one base recipe with two main ingredients: self-rising flour and heavy cream. Customize by mixing in a few add-ins of your choice. Just a few things to keep in mind: 1.) Do not over mix and 2.) keep the ingredients cold, working quickly prior to putting these in the oven. Both recipes can be rolled out in between parchment to keep from making a mess. Be sure to place cut biscuits or scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- Mix the flour, sugar and dill in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the heavy cream and sour cream; put in the freezer for about 15 minutes to freeze up the fats.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add the cream mixture to the flour and blend until just moistened. Working quickly, with a bit of flour on the parchment, roll the dough or press it in between two sheets of parchment until it is about 1/2 -inch thick. Since these biscuits are for the salmon, you want them to be thinner than a traditional biscuit. Cut out about 8 biscuits with a 2-inch cookie or biscuit cutter and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake until they are just golden around the edges but cooked in the center (about 12 minutes). Remove and place on a rack to cool. To garnish, place a dill sprig on each biscuit.
Cured Salmon (i.e., Gravlax)
You will need parchment paper and two sheet pans that will fit in your refrigerator for this recipe. Also, track down some items to weigh down the fish in the fridge. Canned goods or two gallons of milk would do the trick, or go with my choice: a giant geode.
PREPARE 2-4 DAYS PRIOR TO SERVING, SERVES 6-8
- 1.5 pounds fresh salmon
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons smoked salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- Thinly sliced red onion, lemon wedges, capers, chopped hard-boiled egg and sour cream, to serve
- Place the salmon skin side down on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Mix the dry ingredients together and pour this over the salmon; cover the salmon completely with the dry mixture and then cover the fish with plastic wrap. Place the second pan on top, and place in the refrigerator. Add weights on top and chill for 2-4 days.
- Brush off the salt mixture, rinse and pat dry before serving. Garnish with fresh dill. Slice very thinly to serve or allow your guests to slice their own. Serve with the accoutrements.
Prepare a 13-by-17-inch parchment-lined sheet pan with nonstick spray.
- 10 eggs, separated
- 1 large chard leaf, or your preferred greens
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 ounces goat cheese crumbles
- 2 cups chopped kale
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl using a Kitchenaid or electric mixer, beat the egg whites until peaks are stiff. In a smaller bowl, whisk yolks. Fold a small amount of the whites into the yolks to lighten them up, and then fold the yolk mixture into the whites until incorporated. Working quickly, place the green on the center of the pan, and then pour the egg mixture into the pan; spread evenly. Bake until eggs are golden brown, and the center of the mixture feels like a firm sponge when touched (about 12 minutes). Remove pan from the oven; sprinkle eggs with goat cheese and kale. Starting at the short end, roll the egg, removing the parchment. Turn oven off and keep roulade warm in the oven until serving, no longer than 30 minutes.
OTHER OPTIONS FOR FILLING: Try shaved black forest ham and Gruyère or your favorite Swiss cheese. For a meatless option, fill with cream cheese and fresh herbs. You can never go wrong with bacon. Add crispy crumbles of bacon with cheddar and diced onion.
- 2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
- 1/4 cup sugar (1 tablespoon set aside)
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup butter, curled with a potato peeler or cut into very small pieces
- 4 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1 cup roasted chopped rhubarb (cooled)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the flour and sugar (reserving 1 tablespoon) in a large bowl. Place the heavy cream and butter in the freezer. Mix the cream cheese and sugar mixture together. Add the very cold cream/butter mixture to the sugar mixture, and then fold in the rhubarb.
- Divide dough in half and roll each out into same-sized rounds (about 1/2 -inch thick) on a floured board or parchment sheets. Spread the cream cheese on top of one of the rounds, and then place the other round on top, pinching the edges closed. Cut the dough round in half, and then each half in fourths. Place the 8 pieces on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake until golden brown (about 12-15 minutes), leaving 2 inches in between. Remove and cool on rack until ready to serve.
ADDITIONAL ADD-INS: The add-ins to this base recipe are endless. However, you will need to omit the cream cheese mixture and there’s no need to divide and roll; just roll out one large thicker round.
Some of my favorite add-ins flavors are strawberries and basil, or chopped dark or white chocolate. Go savory by adding diced Italian ham and rosemary, or Parmesan, corn and jalapeño.