Brunch is an ideal format for connecting with the family or entertaining during the party-dense holiday season.
To make the early hours of the day less stressful, it helps to plan a simple menu that includes at least one recipe that can be made ahead of time.
Few people understand the dynamics of brunch better than those who operate bed-and-breakfasts. A recent contest sponsored by Jones Dairy Farm and open to members of the American Bed & Breakfast Association gathered more than 400 entries.
The winner? A frittata generously flecked with fresh basil and served with a sausage and pepper ragout. The recipe comes from Betty Gladden of the Garratt Mansion in Alameda, Calif. It's a great centerpiece for casual entertaining and can be served hot or at room temperature, so last-minute work can be eliminated.
Makes 6 servings
10 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sausage and pepper ragout, recipe follows
L Whisk together eggs, sour cream, salt and pepper; set aside.
Heat oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add green onions and basil and cook, stirring, just until onions soften, 1 minute. Add egg mixture; cook until eggs begin to set at edges. Using a spatula, lift cooked edges and tilt pan slightly so uncooked eggs from center flow to edge. Continue to cook until eggs are just softly set in center, 5 to 6 minutes.
Sprinkle cheese over top and transfer to a heated broiler. Broil just until eggs are set, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot or at room 'D temperature, cut into wedges.
Per serving (without ragout): 280 calories; 22 g fat; 375 mg cholesterol; 595 mg sodium; 3 g carbohydrates; 16 g protein
Sausage and pepper ragout
Makes 3 cups
4 ounces ( 1/2 package) brown-and-serve breakfast sausages
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, preferably of different colors, cut in 1-inch squares
1 can (8 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cook sausages over medium heat in large skillet. Remove from pan; cut into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
Melt butter in same pan. Add onion and garlic; cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until limp, 5 to 6 minutes.
Add tomatoes with liquid, basil, sugar, salt and pepper; heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve hot.
This can be made in advance and reheated.
Per 1/2 cup: 110 calories; 9 g fat; 17 mg cholesterol; 245 mg sodium; 5 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein
Cornmeal goat cheese muffins
Makes 6 to 8 muffins
1 box (7 1/2 to 9 ounces) cornbread or corn muffin mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line 6 to 8 muffin cups with paper liners or grease cups.
Combine dry mix, sour cream and egg in medium bowl; mix to combine. Fold in green onions and cheese.
Divide among muffin cups, filling about 2/3 -full. Bake until lightly browned, 17 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Per muffin (based on 6): 225 calories; 13 g fat; 75 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 19 g carbohydrates; 8 g protein
Pub Date: 12/25/96