Sometimes taking Mom out to a restaurant for brunch on Mother’s Day is just what the doctor ordered. Or the lawyer, as the case may be.
But if everybody except Mom pitches in, and especially if she enjoys the comforts of home minus the chores, making a brunch that’s worthy of a restaurant is easier than you think. And if all else goes awry, you can make her lots of mimosas.
Brunch never fails to fascinate us, with its blend of breakfast and lunch flavors. On the one hand, it can taste exactly like a beloved morning meal, replete with freshly made pancakes or waffles, French toast, or even the cream-cheese “stuffed” French toast we’ve all learned to love from B&Bs around the country. But then there’s the savory side of the brunch menu.
Bacon, sausage and perhaps ham can sneak onto the plate here, as can hash-browned potatoes or, in the South, buttered grits. But the real deal is eggs, whether scrambled, hard-boiled, fried or baked. If Mom is a fan of Eggs Benedict and you have the least inclination to make it, Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity – hollandaise sauce and all. Eggs Benedict and its kin, including Eggs Sardou with a layer of creamed spinach, speak of elegance and pampering in a way that “two eggs, over easy” never can.
Quiche became exceedingly popular for a while some years ago, and indeed there’s no reason it should ever fall out of favor – it is delicious. Omelets also have a strong following at brunch time, and you might even be tempted to make like a luxury hotel Mother’s Day with a fully outfitted omelet station. When there are picky kids in the mix, it’s a big plus to let them choose exactly what goes into or onto the omelet you make them. Omelets made to order are always a little thing that impresses.
Still, all such pleasures come together with the Italian frittata. Though it has no pastry or pie crust, it is otherwise like a quiche. Some of the most popular frittate (yes, that’s the plural in Italian) include bacon, mushrooms and other surefire hits from your last quiche-making adventure. You mix it up, pour it into a skillet and pop it into the oven. Happily, there aren’t a lot of ways to mess up a frittata, which comes in handy when you’re traffic-copping a lot of different dishes, not to mention a lot of cooks of different ages.
Here are some tricks for making your Mother’s Day frittata simply perfect. These and mimosas, of course.
THE RIGHT RATIO: Trained chefs talk about ratios all the time, weighing things in grams and generally dismissing our little home-cooking skills of cups and tablespoons. Fact is, cups and tablespoons make ratios too, whether we bother to think about it or not. Tried and true would be 8 eggs with 1/3 cup of milk and 3/3 cup of cheese. Naturally, you can use half and half or even heavy cream to make the frittata all more decadent.
THE RIGHT PAN: Depending on how many guests you are serving, to can make your frittata in as large as baking pan as you possess. But there remains a spirited and very loud faction that believes a cast-iron skillet always works best. We recommend coating any skillet or pan with vegetable spray, then maybe adding a little butter or olive oil for extra flavor. Sticking should not be a problem.
THE RIGHT SEASON: Mother’s Day, like Easter, is a celebration of spring, meaning that vegetables associated with spring are perfect. In addition to standbys like chopped onion and red bell pepper, consider the celebration of the season with delicate green peas or, best of all, steamed and/or grilled asparagus. Vegetables should be cooked, and preferably sweetly caramelized, before they go into the egg mixture. They won’t caramelize after that.
THE RIGHT CHEESE: Of course, we don’t mean the “correct” cheese or the “proper” cheese. The right cheese is always the one Mom likes best. Gruyere is the Frenchy favorite, though mixtures of parmesan and mozzarella are delicious – and Italian. Any cheese, or blend of cheeses, can work, often supplying the flavor profile that makes your frittata as one-of-a-kind as Mom certainly is.
MOTHER’S DAY GLAZED ASPARAGUS FRITTATA
Of all the produce associated with the spring season, asparagus is probably the most elegant. This Italian baked omelet is one of the best ways we know to showcase this vegetable, laying the spears right across the top – front and center. Feel free to customize all other ingredients, especially according to Mom’s taste, as long as you get the eggs ratio right.
10 spears asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
¼ cup Fischer & Wieser’s Mild Green Jalapeno Jelly
4 ounces, prosciutto or other ham, coarsely chopped
¾ cup sliced mushrooms
4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cups shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 375°. In a skillet coated with vegetable spray, over high heat, caramelize the asparagus in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the jelly and toss to glaze the asparagus, then remove the spears from the skillet. Stir together the prosciutto, mushrooms and onion until lightly browned, then stir in the minced garlic for only 1 minute.
In a bowl whisk, together eggs, heavy cream, cheese and parsley. Melt the butter in the skillet with the ham and mushroom mixture. Pour the eggs over the top so it covers the bottom. Top with glazed asparagus spears. Bake until eggs are set but not dry, about 12 minutes. Cut into wedges. Serves 4-6.