How to Win at Brunch
April 4, 2017

Chef John is our King of Brunch, Excellency 0f Eggs and Minister of Muffins. He received his titles as lead breakfaster for the L.A. Kings a few years ago, regularly feeding 40-50 hungry skaters before 7am. John’s epic brunch skills aren’t just because of their sheer size, but in how he makes his guests feel with his plating, outrageously delicious spreads and creative tablescapes.

We sat down with John to uncover his top 10 brunch tips (and his favorite brunch recipes here).

  1. Do as much ahead as you can! Egg dishes are great and can be made ahead in large pans or individual cups or jars. I love the idea of shirred and coddled eggs- both are quick to execute, take 10 minutes to serve and use less than 6 ingredients.
  2. Make room in the fridge for salads. Prepare your dressings and pour them in the bottom of your serving bowls, place tongs over the dressing and rest the greens over the tongs. Refrigerate until about an hour before serving, then open the tongs and toss the greens in with the dressing at the last minute.
  3. Hash it out and show you care. Hash makes a great vegan side (unless you take our advice and toss in rendered pork fat) and is nearly hands-free once it’s in the oven. Take a little extra time when cutting your vegetables- show them some love! Nice, clean cuts ensure even cooking and might give you a little pat on the back for knife skills.
  4. Use all your citrus! If the berry season hasn’t quite kicked into gear yet, knock the color and flavor out of the park by using a variety of citrus fruits in your juices. I love mixing navels, cara caras, blood oranges, grapefruits and even a touch of Meyer lemon juice for an easy, colorful pitcher of juice.
  5. Mix it up. It’s nice to have a second pitcher of juice mixed with a ladle of vodka (or two). Be sure to label it, no one wants cousin Tommy to accidentally pour the saucy stuff into his sippy cup.
  6. Don’t water your drinks down with ice. Place your pitchers in bowls of ice to keep the juice cold.
  7. Make the table look tasty! Take a walk around your neighborhood or garden. Gather herbs and fronds into little nosegays and place them at each table setting; butcher’s twine is easy to find and perfect for tying. Gather leaves of all sorts and cluster them near bright colors.
  8. Balance it out. First, make sure your tables don’t wobble. Second, check the balance of colors and patterns. You’ll want to place busy platters over a solids and vice versa. If it didn’t happen on Instagram…did it happen at all?
  9. Don’t forget the sweets! Pastries, from fruity muffins to tarts are a great way to bring a pop of color to the table. Brunch is usually quite rich, so be sure to incorporate lots of bright, fresh fruit into your baked goods.
  10. Show off. Practice your skills a few days before with a batch of buttermilk biscuits or homemade crackers to impress the crowd.

P.S. Ask your guests to leave the cell phones at the door (after the obligatory Insta posts). They’re here for your food and your company.

Baked Prosciutto Egg Cups

Ingredients

Baked Prosciutto Egg Cups

24 Slices of prosciutto
2 Tbsps Grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp Minced shallots
2 Tbsps Heavy cream
3-4 sprigs Fresh thyme
freshly ground Black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line each muffin tin with two criss-crossed pieces of prosciutto; you'll want to make sure the inside of each tin is entirely lined. Place a touch of cheese at the bottom of each cup.
  2. Crack an egg into each cup, then sprinkle a touch of cream over each egg.
  3. Top each egg with shallots and thyme and add a bit of pepper.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on how set you like your eggs. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the egg cups from their pan. Serves 12.