Simple Art of Cooking: Table for Two for At-Home Brunch

egg brunch

The warmth of house and hearth along with Sunday brunch is just what’s ordered to ward off winter’s prolonged chill. Whether for just two people or a larger crowd, Sunday brunch is a much-appreciated start of the day.

Although brunch doesn’t exist in Spain, a classic for me is my mother’s huevos y tomate, a Sephardic scrambled egg and tomato dish reinterpreted in Greece by adding feta cheese. I stumbled upon the below carefree popover pancake recipe, which incorporated sautéed apples flavored with a bit of cinnamon and topped with a dollop of crème fraiche. Believe me, it couldn’t be simpler to prepare! Arrange an attractive platter lined with lemon leaves and topped with a balanced choice of cheeses, dried Mission figs, scones and or muffins to add to the elegance of your brunch.

This recipe was inspired by huevos y tomate, a Sephardic dish reinterpreted in Greece. Feta cheese is added while cooking the eggs.
Serves 4 to 6

3 to 4 ripe but firm tomatoes (large winter cherry tomatoes)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 to 4 scallions, white and light green parts trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
8 to 10 large eggs
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
1/3 pound fresh Greek feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Rinse tomatoes clean and core. Cut tomatoes in half and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side up on a parchment lined baking sheet. Broil the tomatoes about 3 to 4-inches from source of heat, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes to char slightly and just tender, not mushy. Transfer to a side dish.

2. Melt butter in a 12-inch non-stick skillet and put in the scallions and garlic. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until scallions are tender but not brown. Place the tomatoes in a single layer over the scallions and turn off heat if doing ahead. (Can be prepared up to an hour or so ahead to this point.)

3. When ready to serve, beat eggs and chives together and season with salt and pepper. Return skillet with the scallions and tomatoes to stovetop and pour in the eggs. Cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon pulling in sides of uncooked egg until mixture forms soft curds, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add feta cheese while cooking the eggs. Sprinkle over parsley and serve hot.

Blender-prepared pancake, sauced with glazed golden apples, makes a showy dessert.
Serves 6 to 8

For the popover pancake
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup skim or whole milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the topping
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar
Crème fraiche, optional

Preheat oven to 425°.

1. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch cast-iron or oven-proof skillet. Blend eggs in a food processor or blender and add milk while machine is running. Slowly add flour and blend about 30 to 40 seconds until no lumps appear. Pour the mixture into the hot melted butter and rotate pan to spread the batter to the edge of the pan. Put the skillet in the preheated oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes until puffy and golden brown. It will emerge like a giant popover. Can be prepared ahead and warmed in a low oven when ready to serve

2. Meanwhile melt 3 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet. When foam subsides, put in the apple slices and almonds, season with sugar and cinnamon and toss to coat the mixture. Sauté slowly over medium-low heat until apples are glazed and tender. Warm fruit over low heat if doing ahead.

3. Cut the pancake into equal wedges and place on serving dishes. Spoon equal amounts of apple mixture over the pancake wedges and sprinkle on powdered sugar. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche, if desired.

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