With spring just around the corner, plans for celebrating Easter with brunch at the family breakfast table are in the works. Of course, the central focus of any brunch menu is eggs, but don’t just settle for the same ol’ bacon and eggs combo. There are countless other ways to prepare this versatile favorite.
Before you get started, here’s a word to the wise: Make sure to use the freshest eggs possible, and use eggs from free-roaming hens, which lay the most flavorful eggs because they eat a natural diet. The eggs may be a bit more expensive, but like my mother used to say, “You get what you pay for!”
- Fry ‘em up. In my household, we use leftover bacon grease to fry up our eggs. If you ladle the crackling lard over the eggs in the frying pan, you’ll create a fluffy and sinfully delicious version of this classic.
- Scramble ‘em up. Try adding a touch of cream, salt, and pepper before scrambling for a less-dense take on this old-time favorite.
- Mix ‘em up.Have you ever had a sweet corn and goat cheese omelet? How about one with fresh crab and pimento cheese? The great thing about an omelet is that anything goes (in it)!
- Don’t be afraid of the “flip.”A second cousin to the omelet is the frittata, which is essentially an unfolded omelet. Try yours with country ham and scallions, or diced peppers, onions and pepperjack. Start it on the stove, but finish it in the oven for about 5 minutes to cook the top.
- Brunch for two? Individual egg casseroles are a good way to go. Add a bit of cream, scramble the eggs and bake in the oven in a one-inch water bath for a light and moist result. Try adding some sautéed spinach and shiitake mushrooms for a twist.
- Feeling Frenchy? No, I’m not talking about making French toast; instead, create a traditional quiche. This egg and cheese baked pie is a great way to show off your culinary skills (but it isn’t difficult to make). Try out our mushroom and Swiss cheese recipe below. It’s one of my favorites!
- Want less mess to clean up? Try a one-skillet scramble. Start by frying hash browns in a cast-iron skillet. Then, add tasso ham, fresh vegetables, whisked eggs and cheese. Finish with toasted English muffins and a dash of Sriracha sauce.
- Feeling even spicier? How about some “huevos rancheros” with a fire-grilled tomato and jalapeno salsa on top. Add a side of chorizo sausage, and you’ll really be feeling the heat!
- Eggs “Benedict Arnold.” You may defect from fried or scrambled eggs once you’ve tried them poached! Add a tablespoon of white vinegar to your poaching liquid to add flavor and help hold the egg’s shape. Serve over toast points with country ham and hollandaise sauce.
- Sweetie pie. What meal would be complete without dessert? Try a dried cherry pop-over made of eggs, butter, sugar, flour and sweet dried cherries. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Chef Russell Shinn
Executive Chef, Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, Cary
MUSHROOM & SWISS QUICHE
6 each fresh eggs, beaten
2 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3 tablespoons` flour
1 cup half & half cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste
1 each unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add mushrooms to a hot sauté pan and sauté until they squeak. Add butter, thyme and garlic to pan and cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in flour until well combined. Mix in cheese.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half & half, nutmeg and salt & pepper to taste. Add mushroom mixture to eggs and combine well. Pour into pie shell and bake for 35 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
Makes: 1 quiche, 6-8 slices
Disclaimer: All our recipes were originally designed for much larger batch size. This recipe has been reduced – but not tested at this scale. Please adjust as to your taste and portion size.