A NEW YEAR'S DAY CELEBRATION
This elegant Brunch menu is a delightful way to start the New Year. Veuve Cliquot Champagne with mango nectar starts the celebration...assuming you didn't drink it all on New Year's Eve! In these unstable economic times, if Champagne is not in your budget, you can find excellent tasting sparkling wines to have such as Italian Prosecco, Spanish Cava as well as many California producers of sparking wines.
Crostini with sautéed mushrooms is a delicious hors d'oeuvre to enjoy with the Champagne or white sparkling wine. A bowl of assorted olives and a wedge of an aged or young Spanish Manchego cheese to be sliced with a cheese plane or cut into cubes and let guests serve themselves on small plates.
A tasty Spanish Tortilla with chorizo, thinly sliced potatoes and onions and a sprinkling of smoked paprika is a perfect brunch dish. Not to be confused with Mexico's unleavened bread called tortilla, in Spain, a Tortilla is an basically an omelette - and the combination of potato and onion is a classic Spanish Tortilla. I love Chorizo so I've included it in this Tortilla but you can also use Serrano ham if you wish.
As you know by now, I often recommend specific brand names of ingredients as quality of ingredients is of utmost importance to obtain a delicious result. This fact is even more important when cooking a recipe with very few ingredients which demands that each ingredient is the best quality you can afford. Eggs are the essential part of a Spanish Tortilla and my recommendation is to use Eggland's Best brand. You'll be glad you did!
If you've not tried smoked paprika as yet, it will amaze your taste buds! It is now available in most larger supermarkets and specialty food stores when in years past it was only available online or in Spanish markets. The sweet smoked paprika is mostly used in Spanish cooking but once you've smelled the aroma, use your instincts and use on fried eggs, burgers, roast chicken. There is also a hot version of smoked paprika for certain Spanish dishes and for those who just like the kick of hot smoked pepper!
The salad is a taste of wintery greens and is very refreshing with the bitterness of the greens and the sweetness and tropical sensation of fresh mango. I'm buying mango in the supermarket which is coming from Brazil at this time of year. You can serve the salad after the main dish or as a side dish.
For dessert, to make things easy, I buy an assortment of cookies from the many wonderful bake shops and bakery counters in almost every specialty food shop in NYC. I've recently discovered a most delicious chocolate chip and other cookies and baked goods made by Tate's - sold at Whole Foods Markets stores and through their website as well as at other special food stores. Be forewarned, these cookies are addictive!
New Year's Day Brunch 2009
Recipes yield six servings
Champagne with Mango Nectar
Chill two standard 750 ml bottles of your favorite Champagne to 45 to 48 degrees F. in a bucket with ice and water for 30 minutes before serving. Mango nectar can be found in the produce section of most large supermarkets. Pour about one ounce of nectar into the Champagne glasses and fill with chilled Champagne.
1. Heat up the broiler unit in your oven. Place bread slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet and broil until lightly browned on each side. Don't leave the kitchen while broiling the bread as it browns very quickly and can easily burn. Remove pan from oven and brush each slice lightly with olive oil. Rub the cut side of the garlic halves over each bread slice. Reserve.
2. Thinly slice mushrooms; heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet until it shimmers and add the mushrooms. Sauté over medium-high heat until mushrooms have released their juices and are slightly browned, approximately 10 - 15 minutes. Stir in minced parsley, salt and pepper.
3. Spoon an even amount of mushrooms on the toasted bread slices and arrange crostini on a serving platter and garnish with additional flat leaf parsley sprigs.
Spanish Tortilla with Potato & Chorizo
Heat the oil in a large (12 or 14-inch non-stick) fry pan, and over medium heat, lightly fry the sliced potatoes and onion until slightly softened. Potato slices should remain separate and not stuck together.
While potatoes and onion are cooking, break eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk eggs with a large pinch each of salt and pepper
Remove potato/onion mixture from the fry pan and add them to the bowl with the beaten eggs and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes.
Pour away most of the olive oil in the fry pan and over medium heat, lightly sauté the chorizo slices for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove chorizo and add to the egg/potato/onion mixture.
Turn oven on to 375°F.
With the oil remaining in the fry pan over low-medium heat, add the egg/potato/onion/chorizo mixture to the pan and spread out the potato and chorizo slices evenly. Using a heat-proof rubber spatula, run it along the outside edges of the tortilla to be sure it is not sticking to the pan and also to allow some of the uncooked egg to run underneath the tortilla. Continue to cook tortilla until the egg looks almost set with the exception of the top.
Remove pan from the stovetop and place in the hot oven. Cook just until the top is set and slightly puffed. Don't forget to use an oven mitt to remove the pan from the oven. Shake the pan to loosen the tortilla and slide out the tortilla to a serving platter. Sprinkle top of tortilla with smoked paprika and chopped parsley. Let cool slightly and then cut into six wedges.
Toast the walnut pieces in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan to prevent burning. Make dressing in a small mixing bowl; whisk together the dressing ingredients; taste and make any adjustments necessary (more oil, or more vinegar, etc.) When ready to serve, toss the Endive and Radicchio with the dressing in a large mixing bowl; arrange a portion of the Endive/Radicchio mixture on each of 6 salad plates. Place two or three wedges of mango on each serving; place one or two walnuts on each plate. Garnish each plate with one or two shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Use a vegetable peeler to make the shavings.