fancy schmancy weekend brunch
January 19, 2020 9:16 AM   Subscribe

We're getting into a routine of making weekend brunches that are fancier than our normal pancakes or waffles, but I'm also running out of ideas fast. What are your favorite fancy make at home weekend breakfasts or brunches (or not necessarily even "fancy", just fussier than normal, either because of preparation or ingredients)?

We have no food restrictions I can't work around, and a moderately well equipped kitchen and access to grocery stores that sell pretty much whatever ingredients we want, including a very large well stocked pan-international market. I'm a decent home cook. Bonus points for ideas that aren't your bog standard USian breakfasts. We eat just about anything.

We did Benedict last weekend and today and biscuits and gravy yesterday and I'm doing corned beef hash next Sunday (she's allergic to onions so she never gets to eat corned beef hash while we're out), and after that I'm out of ideas.

Thanks y'all! :)
posted by joycehealy to Food & Drink (36 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Popovers or dutch babies are fancy but not difficult to make alternatives to pancakes, or at least they are the way I make them.

roast potatoes (optionally with duck fat)
- these are kind of a pain to make, but parboiling makes a huge difference
posted by skewed at 9:26 AM on January 19 [3 favorites]

French toast casserole is on my personal wishlist.
posted by wintersweet at 9:34 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]

French toast (I've gotten my best feedback using challah and my trick is letting it soak it with a little milk before soaking it in the egg) topped with jam and maple syrup.

A Belfast fry is basically bacon, sausage and eggs (cooked in the bacon fat) but adds soda bread and potato bread.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:35 AM on January 19

The highlight of my childhood was when we had crepes for breakfast! Powdered sugar and nuts were our go-to toppings, but you can go pretty wild with it.
posted by brook horse at 9:36 AM on January 19 [5 favorites]

A person can get pretty crazy with the Benedict concept; lots of room to fiddle around there and if you've optimized your egg process then it's pretty easy to just wing it based on what's in the fridge, so you could bring it into rotation every few weeks without getting tiring.

Also, Chinese thin omelette is really nice if you've got quality soy sauce, and again you can fool around with add-ins between the layers as long as the add-ins are finely-diced.

Even staying in the realm of egg-centric, there's Indian options, shakshuka obviously, doing things with baked eggs, shirred eggs, Thai eggs (khai jiao), Turkish menemen and so on.

Also, maybe try different takes on the basics? For example, here's a green curry version of french toast.

Or, going a bit further afield (this is not really a "breakfast" recipe, but the presence of egg makes it a bit more "breakfast-y" to westerners): some version of a frankie roll?
posted by aramaic at 9:42 AM on January 19 [4 favorites]

English pancakes- thin pancakes (like crepes) with fresh lemon juice and sugar.
posted by Ftsqg at 9:44 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]

Black sesame waffles
Ful medames ( topped with yogurt, hard boiled egg, and veggies)
Huevos rancheros or breakfast tacos
Chorizo & veggie hash topped with fried eggs
posted by veery at 9:44 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]

Truffled eggs with Parmesan and proscuitto soldiers - I usually make at least twice the number of soliders
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:57 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]

Breakfast burritos with homemade flour tortillas. Scrambled eggs, cheese, salsas, guac, sour cream.Make the dough balls the night before. If you haven't had freshly made flour tortillas right off the griddle wrapping your burrito before, this will be a revelation.
posted by shadygrove at 9:59 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


In winter, adding a bunch of properly ripened strawberries is a big treat. They will be imported from someplace warmer, get several containers, use the ripe ones, leave the rest in a cool dark spot, use as they ripen. Or mangoes.

Bloody marys, even without vodka.
posted by theora55 at 10:12 AM on January 19

How much prep can you shift to the day before? There are a whole host of "even more delicious when they can do one of the proofings overnight in the fridge" baked goods, such as Bagels or Croissants or Challah, all of which are absolutely heavenly fresh out of the oven the next morning.
posted by damayanti at 10:24 AM on January 19

Stratas can be fussy or not, depending how much work you want to put into them, and they look nice.

When I think fussy and breakfast, I often think of risen dough cinnamon rolls (example), though it is sort of a bog-standard US breakfast thing. Likewise anything that has homemade baked goods as a part of it including yeasted waffles, or monkey bread.

Honestly if this were me I think I'd be finding some way to make breakfast tamales only because they are my favorite food, if a bit time consuming.
posted by jessamyn at 10:26 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]

Cinnamon rolls that take a day and are our Christmas morning breakfast.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 10:59 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]

add caramelized onions and finely diced smoked salmon to your scrambled eggs. Cream/cream cheese optional.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:08 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]

Smitten Kitchen's baked eggs with creamy spinach and mushrooms is one of my favorites and seems very up your alley. It's surprisingly easy for how fancy it seems, and is suitable for most diets besides vegan and dairy-restricted. You can do a big casserole dish for a crowd (including doing a lot of prep the night before if you want), or divide everything into cute little individual ramekins. Individual ramekins always feel extra fancy to me. :)

Also quiche! You can put whatever you want in it, so you can keep it simple (cheddar and broccoli, ham and gruyere, bacon and onions), make it fancy (fancier cheese, prosciutto, green onions, herbs), or just throw in whatever's left over from last night or sounds good.

Use this recipe for French toast made with challah.

I don't have a good recipe because I rely on someone else to make them for me (though I think he uses one from Baking Illustrated), but cinnamon rolls are my favorite fancy indulgent breakfast.

And maybe this isn't fancy/unusual enough, but I also really love a big fussy European breakfast spread: basket of pastries, cultured butter, cheese and meat board, soft-boiled eggs in littleegg cups, fresh coffee and juice. Bonus if you can get some of it from a local German bakery.
posted by rhiannonstone at 11:09 AM on January 19 [3 favorites]

For me, one of the things that sets brunch apart from breakfast is the inclusion of vegetables. Here are some I enjoy:

Slice cherry tomatoes in half and roast them for a few minutes under the broiler with a bit of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach sauteed in bacon fat.

Roasted asparagus with lemon wedges.

Homestyle fried potatoes, best made by boiling or microwaving first, then frying until the outside is brown and crispy.
posted by mai at 11:16 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]

Welsh Rarebit
posted by HandfulOfDust at 11:36 AM on January 19

Croque Madame? If you're doing it right you're making your own bechamel and that's kinda fancy.
posted by East14thTaco at 12:06 PM on January 19

Quiche has always been my go-to breakfast/brunch dish. It can all be prepared ahead, save for the custard which gets poured on right as it goes into the oven. As a bonus, you can vary it endlessly to use up whatever cheese, meats, and/or vegetables you have on hand. This spinach and gruyere version is excellent.
posted by DrGail at 12:20 PM on January 19

Ooh, I LOVE breakfast.

A groove I've fallen into over the years has been putting out a 'spread' instead of just one or two main dishes. It doesn't have to be fancy, but having a lot of little side dishes - think something in the spirit of Korean banchan - feels luxurious and exciting. It reminds me of movies I've seen of people living The Good Life in a villa in Italy, sitting on the veranda with some close friends with a solid spread of fresh, tasty, colorful foods and bottles of wine, having a lovely conversation.

My sides might be things like fruit salad, roasted potatoes (see the Serious Eats recipe), toasted bread, lightly steamed vegetables like broccoli (tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, or soy sauce, sugar, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and chingkiang vinegar), yogurt and homemade granola, a homemade quick bread I happen to have. Also a special milky beverage - homemade latte with really good coffee beans, Vietnamese coffee, milky tea with lavender or almonds, etc.

The fruit salad can be tailored to the time of year and my mood. A regular fruit salad might involve pears, oranges, grapes, bananas. A tropical fruit salad might have kiwi, Ataulfo mango, lychee/rambutan, oranges, maybe a drizzle of sweetened coconut milk or condensed milk. What I call a 'jewel' salad has blueberries, strawberries, figs, pomegranate seeds, and blackberries.

I pick and choose sides and put them in medium-sized communal bowls with serving utensils.

Some breakfast entrees I like:

Chilaquiles with homemade salsa verde - it's easier than you think and is devastatingly good

Shahshuka - with harissa; you can make the tomato sauce the night before! Use good-quality, flavorful tomatoes - I use Cento canned whole peeled

Belgian waffles - the real deal, with a ton of butter, and yeasted. I got this fabulous Nordic Ware stovetop Belgian waffle maker. The batter keeps for days. I like to serve these with a homemade strawberry-lemon or blueberry-lime jam

Crepes - so much room for customization, and you can (and should) make the batter the night before!

Avocado toast - we mash ours with black pepper, a good-quality harissa like DEA, black pepper, and salt, as well as a drizzle of truffle oil, since my SO loves this. You can also add poached eggs if you wish

Chef John's mushroom-ricotta open-face sandwich appetizers

Tacos de papas y chorizo - Trader Joe's has realllllly good soy chorizo, I highly recommend these

Turkish potato, egg, and cheese dish

A simple hash of whatever you've got in the fridge

Frittatas! Never forget the humble frittata! Such an easy and flexible crowd pleaser

Last month, we were trying to finish everything in the fridge before leaving for holiday. We came up with a savory, improvised bread pudding - butter a baking dish, layer on some cubed bread, toss in chopped Whatever (we had scallions, parsley, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, olives, cheese), and drizzle on some eggs whisked with a dash of milk, salt, sugar, and back pepper. Bake at 350 F until cheese melted. Tasted like a grown-up pizza, looked amazing, and totally won over my future in-laws :)
posted by aquamvidam at 12:55 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]

Another vote for Dutch babies, because they are easy and delicious. You can also add things to them - I’ve had success with bananas.
posted by Badmichelle at 1:07 PM on January 19

I have had great luck/success with all of these recipes, and will make them again:

Extra-billowy dutch baby pancake, with the optional sugar added (served with maple syrup and a little whipped cream). I plan to try a savory version with sauteed mushrooms sometime.

Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole, made with homemade Hokkaido milk bread. I halved the recipe for an 8x8" glass baking dish and added cinnamon and cardamom to the liquids. I also used the cinnamon topping from the coffee cake recipe below, rather than the one with flour/butter.

Our Favorite Sour Cream Coffeecake - delicious! Easily made gluten free by substituting GF measure for measure flour. I added cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla to the batter and we scarfed down seconds while standing over the stove.

Tortilla de patatas - a Spanish relative who cooks very well said that this recipe looked like a good one. It was super tasty topped with a little smoked paprika! Fancy for something with only a few ingredients.

Homemade Bagels - I don't have a food processor large enough for this so I kneaded the dough by hand. Technique not recommended but the bagels turned out great! Be sure to cover the tangzhong paste while it cools or it will make the dough too dry to work with.

I will be watching this thread with anticipation - I love breakfast and brunch!
posted by cp311 at 1:28 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]

Dry Salami With Herbs Of Provence
Cheddar Cheese
Fig Jam

Slice and fry the salami a bit, for crispness and to render out some fat. Slice the apples and cheese. Serve on individual plates or arrange on a serving platter. Combine short stacks of various combinations (a la open-faced sandwich-ettes): e.g., apple + cheese + jam, salami + apple, and so on until you are blissfully sated.

You may want to serve with crackers.
posted by dancing leaves at 1:45 PM on January 19

Make your own bagels (you have to start the night before)! Doable but a little bit of a pain in the butt so you feel like you have really done something. You don’t need an electric mixer, you just need to be willing to knead by hand for a while. I have had great success playing around with this recipe. Get some good lox and enjoy.
posted by charmedimsure at 1:53 PM on January 19

Experiment with different cheeses. Or make a sweet souffle with pumpkin pie spices, or one that's vanilla flavored and served with strawberries and an orange liqueur sauce.

It's fussy enough to be involved but once you get the hang of it, the magic of souffles is fun.
posted by mightshould at 3:08 PM on January 19

Tattie (potato) scones - traditional scottish breakfast fare. Made from leftover mashed potatoes. Hot and with melted butter, they are really good.
posted by ElasticParrot at 3:25 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]

Stiffed french toast! Mix cream cheese with honey, raisins, and pecans (or whatever you like). Take brioche and slice thickly, then make a slit and fill it with the cheese mixture. Squish a bit so it closes. Fry as usual for french toast, and put cinnamon and nutmeg in the egg soak.

Serve with jam and syrup. So good!
posted by ananci at 4:34 PM on January 19

My family always liked salmon croquettes and grits or fried fish (usually porgies) and grits for breakfast.
We never had shrimp and grits, but there's no reason you can't!
posted by zorseshoes at 8:09 PM on January 19

Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:27 AM on January 20

Have you ever had Turkish breakfast? It is the best.

Here are some of the elements. (If you’re not down for the whole thing just skip to Turkish Eggs.)

Pick and choose as you see fit, but a proper Istanbul kahvalti would include all of these:

-tomato (use cherry tomato if it’s winter where you are)
-cucumber, chopped and salted
-olives, green and black
-cheese, at a minimum the white feta kind but you’ll probably have a yellow gruyere kind and maybe a regional specialty as well
-fruit jam (sour cherry, especially) and/or fruit molasses (pekmez) to mix with tahini and dip your toast into
-clotted cream with honey poured over it, also for spreading on bread
- sucuk, or little rounds of beef sausage fried in a pan til crispy
-eggs: a couple options here. The weekday: boiled eggs. The weekend: menemen, as mentioned above, which is tomato/pepper scrambled eggs. I like to leave these in its frying pan for people to dip into communally; that’s the way we ate it in Istanbul, The modern: Turkish eggs with yogurt and melted butter.
-Loads and loads of fresh crusty sesame bread. Ideally the fluffy kind of pide (not hard little pitas).
-Turkish tea: one pot full of strong strong black tea, one pot full of hot boiled water. Everyone can use the two pots to pour themselves a bit of strong tea and a bit of water, adjusting to the individual’s liking. Usually taken with sugar, in little glasses shaped like tulips, but a teacup or mug will do.
posted by Concordia at 4:41 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]

A favorite around here... Arrange attractively on a plate:
- very thinly sliced Nova smoked salmon
- diced avocado mixed with lemon juice
- poached egg
- several teaspoon-sized dollops of sour cream
- a sprinkle of capers
- a shower of fresh, chopped dill
- a quick, light drizzle of olive oil
- salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
posted by Short Attention Sp at 7:17 AM on January 20

The book (and website for) Artisinal Bread in Five Minutes has recipes for sweet breads than can be started the day before and baked the night before or that morning.

Scrambled eggs with stuff is a great and can be an almost-omelet or -frittata. One of our favorites is 4 eggs, 2 - 3 ounces of cream cheese, 2 - 3 slices of smoked salmon diced/chopped fine, chives if she can eat them, saute a shallot first if she can eat them. After putting the eggs in the pan, add the cream cheese and salmon and stir until the eggs are cooked. For the stuff, we've used dried tomatoes, jarred roast peppers, leftover cheese plate stuff, deli meats.

Simple muffins and scones are quick to make and are all fancy in a basket or bowl lined with a cloth napkin.

Bread pudding, especially with leftover sweet breads like brioche or Christmas stollen, and toss in dried cherries or cranberries, or use pumpkin or apple spice mix (I usually reduce the sugar in the custard mix because I am old and find it too sweet).
posted by JawnBigboote at 7:22 AM on January 20

Muffins and bread pudding, as others mentioned.

Maybe something Korean?
posted by kathrynm at 8:42 AM on January 20

Egg sandwiches - the kind you'd get in an upscale coffee shop. Make with croissants or a nice crusty bread, different cheeses (brie?), fancy mustard.


An oatmeal spread - warmed blueberries/apples/bananas, raisins, craisins, roasted almonds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, honey, maple syrup

For an Indian breakfast - masala dosa with sambar.
posted by yawper at 9:52 AM on January 20

Japanese souffle pancakes.
posted by carrienation at 6:57 PM on January 20

Y'all, these suggestions are amazing and just what we were looking for. I will report back!
posted by joycehealy at 6:35 PM on January 24

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