There are certain traditions that should not be messed with like how one sings the national anthem or addresses the POTUS. This is also how I feel about brunch. Sunday brunch is like an institution that should be respected and revered for all its deliciousness. Breakfast I normally skip. Lunch tends to be something on the go. Dinner, well in today’s day and age, it is a meal that many of my friends (and I too on occasion) eat while standing over the kitchen sink. Brunch is a meal that is not rushed. It is normally thoughtfully planned and executed. And most importantly, it is a meal that is meant to be shared. While I am positive it happens, I have yet to hear of a person who makes “brunch for one”.
When I moved into the new house, one of the first parties I had was brunch for my friends. I find the pace of brunch to be a leisurely and calm. Just a gathering of friends enjoying good food and company. That is what happened this past Sunday when I had two former co-workers, now friends, over for a SIX hour brunch. Yes. Six hours. Who knows what happens during that magical time between mimosa #2 and mimosa #??? but we caught up, laughed way too much and learned a little more about each other.
As I mentioned, I am a traditionalist at heart when it comes to brunch, but traditional should not mean boring. The menu on Sunday was a bacon, cheddar and broccolini frittata, waffles with blueberries and whipped cream, mixed berry salad with mint and Grand Marnier and a green salad with pickled red onions, roasted yellow peppers & mozzarella dressed with a lemon vin. However, each of the dishes had a little something to them to bring out their “wow” potential from lemon zest and rosemary in the waffles, the artisanal bacon in the frittata, the homemade roasted peppers and pickled onions in the salad and the booze in the fruit salad. You can make the ordinary extraordinary with a few key ingredients.
To prove my point, here is the recipe for the frittata. Hope you enjoy:
Bacon, Cheddar and Broccolini Frittata
Total Time: 45 minutes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 (7-ounce) potato, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
3 ounces (3-4 slices) thick cut bacon, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cup blanched broccolini
Bring a large pot of slated water to a boil. While the water is coming a boil, cut the broccolini on the diagonal reserving the tips. When the water is at a boil, add the stems only and blanche for 3 minutes until crisp tender. Once cooked, remove stems and place in a cold water bath to stop cooking.
Heat a heavy cast iron skillet or similar (9 1/2-inch-diameter) over medium heat. Place bacon into skillet and cook about 5-7 minutes until fat has rendered and bacon pieces have nicely browned. Remove bacon and place on paper towels. Add the additional olive oil, potato, onion, and garlic to the skillet. Season the potato mixture with salt and pepper, to taste. Saute over medium-low heat until the potato is golden and crisp on the outside, tender inside, about 7 minutes. Add the broccolini including the tips for 2-3 minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Whisk the eggs, cream, cheddar, and basil in a medium bowl to blend. Stir the egg mixture into the potato mixture in the skillet. Add back the cooked bacon and stir. Cook over medium-low heat until the egg mixture is almost set but the top is still loose, about 3 minutes. Place the skillet under the broiler. Broil until the top is set and golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove skillet from broiler and allow frittata to cool for 5 minutes. Frittata can be served directly from pan or can be loosened and placed on a plate.
Note: If the skillet you are using has a plastic handle, wrap handle with several layers of aluminum foil to protect while under broiler.