Aida Mollenkamp is a California-based chef, traveler, and author. You can find her online at Salt & Wind, a food and travel resource for those out to taste the world. Just in time for Easter and Mother’s Day, today she is sharing two tasty spring brunch recipes using seasonal ingredients. Enjoy!
Hey, friends. Aida from Salt & Wind here. Spring is here and I’m excited to share two delicious seasonal brunch recipes that would be perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day entertaining. To me, spring is all about dining outdoors. As the temperatures warm and the birds start chirping, I can’t wait to brunch alfresco with friends. Okay, yes; here in Los Angeles it’s never really that cold. But even here brunch season doesn’t really start until spring arrives.
To kick off this season’s brunching, I headed to one of my favorite L.A. brunch spots, Gjelina, and fell head over heels for the egg dishes: one with ricotta and squash blossoms and another with a vibrant green sauce. I decided to combine those flavors here for this brunch dish that’s super simple: Asparagus Ricotta Baked Eggs with Mint-Basil Puree. When it comes to brunch, I’m always looking for recipes that will keep me out of the kitchen like baked eggs. With these eggs, you could make the puree, cook the asparagus, and assemble everything in the baking dish all before your guests arrive. Then just pop the dish in the oven, bake them up in a few minutes, and voila—you’ve just won at brunch!
That also leads me to my accompanying cocktail recipe: Peach Raspberry Rosé Bellinis, made in pre-mixed pitchers. They’re my modern twist on the classic Bellini cocktail (peach puree and Prosecco). Here’s the thing: the Bellini cocktail is by no means complicated. It all comes down to fresh, quality ingredients. Make your own peach puree (it takes a second, I swear), mix it with some bubbles, and you’re set.
Check out both easy brunch recipes below…
Asparagus Ricotta Baked Eggs with Mint-Basil Puree
Puree (makes about ½ cup):
- 2 cups fresh mint leaves, plus a few more for garnish
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, plus a few more for garnish
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium leek, dark green part trimmed
- 1 bunch pencil-thin asparagus, rough ends trimmed
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 4 large eggs
- crumbled feta cheese
- extra virgin olive oil
- Place herbs in a colander and pour boiling water over the herbs. Rinse under cold water and squeeze out excess water (this helps the herbs stay bright green when they’re blended).
- Place herbs in a blender along with olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and blend until smooth (add a few tablespoons of water if needed to help the mixture blend).
- Herb puree can be made up to 1 day ahead of time. Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready.
- Heat oven to broil and arrange a rack 6-inches from the broiler. Finely chop light green and white part of leeks and slice asparagus on bias into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Let the butter cook until it just begins to brown then add the leeks and asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Cook briefly until the leek is just wilted and asparagus is bright green, about 2 minutes. Immediately remove from heat.
- Divide the cream among the bottom of four small (about 3.5-inch) cast iron skillets or other small (3-4-inch diameter) ovenproof dishes (such as ramekins). Divide the asparagus mixture among each skillet. Add a few tablespoons of ricotta and crack an egg into each skillet. Top with a pinch of feta and a drizzle of oil. Place the skillets under the broiler until the eggs are just set, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Top each skillet with a spoonful of the herb puree and serve.
Peach Raspberry Rosé Bellini Cocktails
Serves 6 to 8
Puree (makes about 1 ½ cups):
- 2 cups sliced peeled fresh or frozen peaches (defrosted if frozen)
- 1 cup fresh raspberries, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon rosewater or orange blossom water (optional)
- 1 chilled (750 ml) bottle rose sparkling wine
- Rose petals, for garnish (optional)
- Combine the peaches, measured raspberries, honey, lemon juice, water, and rosewater or orange blossom water, if using. Blend until very smooth, about 1 minute.
- Pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve at least once to remove any raspberry seeds. If you have time, pass it through the sieve a few more times (this will make sure the puree combines nicely with the sparkling wine).
- Puree can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored refrigerated in an airtight container.
- When ready to serve, place the puree in a pitcher and add the chilled bottle of sparkling wine. Stir to mix the puree and wine well.
- Divide Bellini mixture among serving glasses, garnish each glass with a few raspberries, and a rose petal, if using, then serve.
Let me know if you make one of these recipes.
I want to see it!
Salt & Wind