Quick Recipes and Easy

Sunday Brunch in Maine

At our summer home in Maine, my favorite activity is preparing Sunday brunch. Everyone has a responsibility, making the meal a real family affair. Mom puts up water for tea and coffee and sets the table, dad slowly fries bacon, my sister gathers herbs from the garden and I usually experiment with various recipes that I’ve found in Gourmet or Saveur Magazines. We listen to NPR on the radio and then discuss the issues as if participating in informal debate. Our twelve-year-ancient terrier sits patiently beside the stove waiting for my dad to splatter a small bacon grease on the floor.

A excellent brunch menu must consist of both sweet and savory elements to completely please the palate. This can be achieved in several ways. Jam on toast is a simple way to add sweetness to a meal that’s based primarily around a savory dish. Another approach is to use fruit as a garnish. After several trips to Europe, my family took to putting a wedge of mild cheese on the table each morning beside a pot of local honey. And for the savory component, eggs are the most common centerpieces for brunch. I recently came across an egg recipe that calls for an fascinating preparation and a presentation that will wow not just family members, but guests as well. You separate the yolk from the white and whisk the whites into a foam, folding in a mild farmstead cheese. You then place the whites in small ramekins and drop the yolks into the center. In the oven for 12 minutes and Voila! You have a breakfast that looks like a gorgeous meringue with a soft yellow center. Sprinkle some herbs on top and you have a meal for a queen.

Pillow Top Eggs
Serves 4

4 buttered ramekins
4 eggs
A pinch of nutmeg
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/3 pound of firm, mild cow’s milk cheese, finely grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Four slices whole grain toast

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Separate the whites from the yolks and drop the yolks into a bowl of cold water so that they don’t break. Whisk the whites until soft peaks form and fold in half of the cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Distribute the white foam between the four ramekins. Dig a small whole in the center of each with the back of a utensil and drop a yolk into each ramekin. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top of the yolks along with a pinch more of both salt and pepper. Back for twelve minutes, rendering a soft, gooey yolk. Garnish with chives and serve with warm toast and a berry jam.

By Chef Annemarie Ahearn for ChefsLine. Chef Annemarie is one of the twenty chefs providing personalized cooking consultations by phone through chefsline.com ChefsLine, the culinary hotline.

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