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Spring Brunch in the Kitchen

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Delicious recipes: check. A killer cocktail: check. The perfect party menu for the season (that you’ll love cooking with friends): check (and check).

This menu serves 8 with leftover muffins, though you’ll need to quadruple the cocktail recipe. The shopping list reflects the scaled-up amounts.

It’s the weekend, and you’re ready to party (and cook). This celebration-worthy brunch menu is the perfect excuse to do just that. It’s “party in the kitchen” fare, so tell your friends to come over hungry and prepared to cook.

Draw them into the kitchen with fresh grapefruit-tequila cocktails. As people sip their drinks, you can platter the family-style first course—a creamy, crunchy, salty salad of smoked trout and cucumbers. The main course of poached eggs with garlicky sautéed mushrooms and brioche comes together quickly with a few extra hands, and the payoff is oh-so-satisfying. While those plates are being cleared, pop the pancake soufflé muffins in the oven and get ready for high praise when they come out. Topped with strawberry-maple syrup and confectioners’ sugar, they’re like your favorite breakfast dish and dessert all in one. It’s definitely time to rise and dine.

Menu Timeline

This menu is meant to be cooked with friends, but there are some make-ahead elements that will help it come together smoothly.

3 to 14 days ahead

  • Make the grapefruit-infused tequila for the cocktails.

Up to 3 hours ahead

  • Poach the eggs and chill them quickly in an ice bath; refrigerate.
  • Brown the mushrooms; set aside at room temperature.

Up to 2 hours ahead

  • Make and refrigerate the batter for the pancake soufflé muffins.
  • Make the garlic oil; set aside at room temperature.

15 minutes ahead

  • Prepare the smoked trout and cucumbers for the salad.

As guests arrive

  • Make and serve the cocktails.
  • Toast the sourdough; plate and serve the smoked trout salad.

For the second course

  • Roast the mushrooms.
  • Reheat the eggs.
  • Toast and butter the brioche.
  • Plate and serve the egg dish.

For the third course

  • Bake the pancake soufflé muffins.
  • Make the strawberry-maple syrup.
  • Sprinkle muffins with confectioners’ sugar and serve with the syrup.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 1 cup quartered, hulled ripe strawberries
  • 6 oz. (6 loosely packed cups) baby spinach
  • 1 medium English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seed core removed, and thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 medium scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 lb. hen of the woods mushrooms (or other exotic mushrooms, such as oyster), broken into large pieces
  • 4 medium pink grapefruits
  • 4 limes
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish

Fish, Eggs & Dairy

  • 1 lb. smoked trout
  • 14 large eggs
  • 3-1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbs. salted butter; or as needed

Other Groceries

  • 1 loaf brioche
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread
  • 1 750-mL bottle silver (blanco) tequila, preferably Partida (or Don Julio Blanco or El Mejor)
  • 1 1/2-L bottle club soda
  • 6 fl. oz. St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Pantry Staples

  • 10-1/2 oz. (2-1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 4-1/2 oz. (1 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cake flour
  • 1-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Black peppercorns

The Menu


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