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.
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
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.