Thinking about the prospect, just the prospect not even the nailed down and on the calendar sort, of a brunch makes me happy. Going to bed at 9PM also makes me happy, which is why if I had to rank brunch and dinner, I have to admit that I get a little more excited about an invitation for brunch. (But let’s be clear here, any opportunity to sit around a table and enjoy food and conversation with friends makes me happy!)
When I was a new mom I began watching Ina Garten’s show “The Barefoot Contessa”, of which I became a instant fan even though I’m not able to enjoy many of her recipes. She is so warm and inviting and had a way of making me, the viewer, feel like I was personally sitting in her kitchen and watching her cook. I know I’m not alone here!! Who wouldn’t want to be considered Ina’s friend? She once said that brunch was her favorite meal to host. She loved the informal nature of it, and that guests had the rest of the day to make their own. Another reason why I love her.
So even though brunch and I are great friends, when I’m hosting brunch, I still need time in the morning for a book and coffee in bed (i.e. spilling coffee in bed). Oh wait, reality check, that was pre-kids! Back to reality. I just want a lazy morning where the kids and I can do puzzles, play doctor and color before I begin preparing everything. I also want to serve something a little fancier (but not too fancy) than my weekday fare.
Of course a frittata or an egg bake is an obvious choice for serving a group, (accompanied by your favorite baked bread, roll, etc.) but I’m going to go a little further in simplicity here with the help of a make-ahead and amazingly flavorful harissa chile sauce. If I was serving a brunch menu to friends this weekend, I would prepare this dish, sweet potato bread (I’m working on my own recipe, but I have made this one with great success!), and finish with berries with a little kefir and sprouted pumpkin seeds on top to finish. Oh my gosh, I’m getting hungry!
The recipe run-down goes as follows: roasted asparagus topped with prosciutto, sunny-side up eggs and smothered in harissa sauce which is an extremely versatile and TOTALLY flavorful chile sauce. If you’re not a fan of heat, don’t worry, you can completely control the level in this harissa sauce, and it is sooooo flavorful no matter where you take the heat!
You could also add avocado for healthy fat, and/or fresh grape tomatoes to accompany the slight tomato flavor of the harissa.