Native New Yorker and global foodie, Caitlin Zaino shares her top tips for serving up brunch NY-style.
Brunch is a New York institution. Walk the city's streets on any Sunday and you'll inevitably see crowds of hungry diners spilling out of neighbourhood restaurants, waiting to snag a table for that coveted midday meal. But you don't need to book a flight to enjoy a proper NY-style brunch. Here are some tips for creating your own at home.
1. Plan your menu based on a mix of savoury and sweet classics. Brunch straddles the line between breakfast and lunch, so pair traditional favourites like American-style coffee cake or banana bread with heartier plates, like egg-based dishes and smoked fish pâté. This is comfort food at its best so skip the diet and opt for a menu that will keep your guests full for hours.
Smoked salmon pate with French bread & horseradish
Smoked salmon, dill & lemon pate
Ricotta, tomato & spinach frittata
Banana cake with pecan crumble crunch
2. Fresh bagels served with cured salmon - aka lox - sliced red onions and cream cheese are a must at any authentic New York brunch, especially at home. When lox aren't available, a smoked salmon is a good substitute. If you're planning to cook for a crowd of six or more, opt for a buffet-style and add a warm frittata or two, fresh muffins and jams, some fruits and a NY-original Waldorf salad to your menu.
Bagels for brunch
Potato frittata with pesto & goat's cheese
Raspberry coffee time muffin
3. For a sit-down brunch with a smaller crowd, dish-up hot scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and chives, or indulgent eggs Benedict. Whip up some brioche French toast drizzled with maple syrup for the requisite sweet element. Make it even more traditional, by substituting the brioche with Challah bread if you can find it.
Smoked salmon & lemon scrambled eggs
Gordon's eggs Benedict
French toast stuffed with banana & maple syrup
4. A few boozy drinks at brunch, served next to fresh orange and grapefruit juice, always go down well. Extra spicy Bloody Marys are the classic choice, followed closely by Mimosa and Bellini. And if you're going for the real NY vibe, skip the tea and offer copious amounts of filtered coffee in oversized mugs instead.
5. Brunch is almost always informal. Channel the New York ethos and serve heaps of Danish pastries and bagels in napkin-lined baskets. Large bowls filled with green apples give a nod to the "Big Apple". Throw on some jazz and welcome your guests around 11.30am, allowing them to linger lazily for hours. For a special finishing touch, send them home with homemade chocolate chip cookies in take-away bags.
Apple & blueberry danishes
Vintage chocolate chip cookies
Caitlin Zaino is the founder of The Urban Grocer and she's scouring the globe in search of the world's most cutting-edge food discoveries.
How do you serve your brunch? Let us know your favourite way to start the weekend…