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Celebratory brunch

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Comforting, homey food—with a few neat twists—is a great way to entertain weekend guests.

Nothing lifts our spirits or says “we’re glad you’re here” as easily and quickly as a full on brunch with its homey and familiar flavors.

We start with an invigorating fruit or vegetable drink that’s just a little bit zingy, like the Southwestern Bloody Mary, which is good with or without the vodka. (Not everyone, we know, is ready for something that strong in the morning.) Our favorite entrée is a hearty hash crowned with an egg. Skillet-crusted potatoes meet their highest brunch destiny in a good hash, and the salmon version is a bit more elegant than corned beef or ham. Biscuits, of course, are a must. And finally, a dessert of gently sweetened and spiced broiled grapefruit rounds out the menu.

Use a heavy-duty pan for well-browned hash. A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is our pan of choice here. If you don’t have one, use the best heavy-based pan you can find. We like to use a medium- to low-starch potato, like Yukon Gold, because it will hold its shape better as the hash cooks and you move it around the skillet. For even cooking and the best consistency, cut the ingredients into pieces of about the same size.

As for the biscuits, the dough will be sticky and shaggy, and you may be tempted to knead it a few extra seconds. Don’t—it’s important to stop kneading as soon as the dough comes together, as overhandling it will make the biscuits less tender.

Menu Timeline

The night before:
  • Make and chill the dilled crème fraîche.
  • Assemble the dry ingredients for the biscuits.
  • Assemble and chill the topping for the grapefruit.
  • Cook the salmon for the hash and refrigerate it.
Early that morning:
  • Mix the base for the Bloody Marys.
  • Squeeze the orange juice for the Champagne Cocktails
  • Mix the biscuit dough.
  • While the dough rests, assemble the ingredients for the hash.
  • Cut the biscuits and arrange them on a baking sheet.
  • Heat the oven for the biscuit dough.
Thirty minutes before serving:
  • Begin cooking the hash.
  • After about 15 minutes, pop the biscuits in the oven.
  • Be sure the grapefruit topping is at room temperature.
  • Make the cocktails.
  • Cook the eggs (if using) just as you’re finishing the hash, and assemble the hash and eggs on plates.
During brunch or when the table is being cleared:
  • Put the topping on the grapefruit halves and flash them under the broiler.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce:
  • 2 large pink or red grapfruit
  • 6 medium-large oranges
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill (or 5 tsp. dried dill)
  • 1 bunch of fresh chives or scallions
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (or 1/4 tsp. ground ginger)
Meat, Eggs & Dairy:
  • 1 pound cooked skinless salmon fillet or hot-smoked salmon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 Tbs. half-and-half or cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Pantry Staples:
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 5-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tbs. light or dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable shortening or lard
  • Kosher salt
  • Table salt
  • Black pepper
Other Groceries:
  • 1 quart tomato juice (good quality)
  • 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (preferably La Morena brand)
  • 1 bottle of capers
  • 1 bottle of prepared horseradish (opional)
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (1/2 tsp.)
  • 4 to 6 oz. vodka
  • 1 bottle brut sparkling wine

The Menu

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