Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gala Parfait: Mother's Day Brunch

I had the pleasure this year of spending Mother's Day in my hometown with my family, especially excited to be near my sister and week-old niece. Brunch was the first event scheduled, though I was "informed" that the menu had already been selected by the moms while watching the Food Network the week prior. Though I was happy to prepare the southern brunch spread selected from Down Home with the Neelys, my sister and inspired chef Megan (only a week after giving birth) was DYING to get back into the kitchen. Together we prepared the feast of Peach Fritters with Orange Glaze, Eggs Benedict on a Sausage Croquette, fresh fruit salad, and Morning Glory cocktail (sparkling wine, splashes of Cointreau, cherry brandy and fresh pine-orange juices).

Peach Fritters with Orange Glaze

1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can peach halves in syrup, drained
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish

Heat deep-fryer to 350 degrees F (I used a candy thermometer in a deep saucepan with oil).
Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
Remove 3 peach halves from can and cut into small cubes.
In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, butter, cubed peaches, and almond extract. Add wet mixture to dry and stir well until combined.Using a small ice cream scoop, drop batter into the hot oil. Fry for 1-2 minutes. Remove when fritter begins to float.Lay on a paper towel lined sheet tray. Sprinkle immediately with confectioners' sugar. Place on platter and serve with Orange Glaze.
Orange Glaze:

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice

In a large bowl add the confectioners' sugar and drizzle in the orange juice while whisking.

Eggs Benedict on a Sausage Croquette
makes 6 servings

1 pound country pork sausage
3 baked potatoes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
Vegetable oil, for pan-frying

Hollandaise Sauce:
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 sticks butter, melted
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash hot sauce
2 tablespoons chopped chives

6 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
1-2 large tomatoes, sliced thickly

In a heavy bottom skillet, brown sausage over medium heat. Add a little oil to the bottom of the pan if it sticks, add a little oil and break it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until all the pink is gone. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from the skillet into a bowl.
Remove the inside of the potatoes and place a bowl with the Parmesan. Mash with a potato masher until they are smooth. Add the egg, sour cream, 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs, and season with salt and pepper. Add sausage to the bowl with the potatoes and mix well.
With your hands, divide the pork mixture into 1/4 cup portions and flatten so that each croquette is about 1/2-inch thick.
Add 1 cup panko bread crumbs to a 13 by 9-inch casserole dish and add chopped parsley and stir to combine. Dredge croquettes through the panko mixture and repeat.
Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the croquettes and saute until golden brown and crisp, about 6minutes per side. Hold in a 200 degrees F oven while you prepare the eggs and hollandaise.For the Hollandaise Sauce:
Add yolks, mustard and heavy cream to a blender. Blend until the egg yolks look light yellow and foamy about 1 minute. Keeping the blender on, slowly stream in the melted butter, making sure it emulsifies fully. Keep blending and add a pinch of salt and pepper, lemon juice, cayenne and hot sauce. Blend again until fully incorporated, then add chives at very end. Keep warm.

For the eggs:
Poach eggs in shallow simmering water in a wide pan or dutch oven (be sure to add vinegar to water to help eggs hold their shape). When the yolks are set but not firm (about 3 minutes), transfer eggs to a cold water bath in a casserole dish to stop them cooking. Continue until all eggs are set. Return cooled poached eggs to heated water quickly just before serving to rewarm.

Lay a handful of baby spinach on the serving dish and top with sausage croquette. Top croquette with a large tomato slice and poached egg, season with salt and pepper, then ladle over the hollandaise sauce. Garnish with leftover chopped chives.
Serve immediately.


  1. you kill me. this looks absolutely delish. my mouth is watering at the thought of the fritters.

  2. Do you think the fritters can be made in a saute pan instead of deep fryer? And I'm certainly going to try that croquette. Thank you for the gorgeous photos. Come back to Tucson, convince Janos to set up a new food website...and be his food stylist.

  3. Thanks Monica! I used a deep saucepan, rather than a deep fryer, but DID submerge the fritters.. I definitely think you could do them in a saute, they just may not hold the round shape as well or have the same golden crispy outer texture.