Spring is in the air! Can you feel it? Because...I can't, not yet anyway. Luckily, I can see it, mainly in the form of fresh young produce on my supermarket shelves. It may not be picnic weather just yet, but the first tender asparagus and sweet peas are just starting to return to our tables, and in my book that's reason enough to celebrate. Here's a four-course brunch menu to get you started.
Everything Bagel Deviled Eggs
There are few appetizers as universally crowd-pleasing and easy to make in bulk as deviled eggs. Simply boil a bunch of eggs, slice them in half, whip up the yolks with some mayo, and spoon or pipe the mixture back into each cup of firm, shiny white. But while I'm all about the paprika-dusted and mustard/vinegar/hot sauce-spiked traditional deviled egg, there's something to be said about shaking things up. Namely, holy crap, these are good.
We've got a whole slew of variations, but my favorite one also happens to be eminently brunch-appropriate. Don't let that stunning presentation scare you—everything bagel deviled eggs are incredibly easy to make. All you have to do is whisk a mixture of cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, sesame seeds, dehydrated onion, caraway seeds, and smoked salmon into the yolks. In other words, your shopping list is the longest part of this undertaking. The rest follows suit with the classic, only you can opt to garnish them with additional salmon and seeds. What you're left with is something a little creamy, a little crunchy, and packed with flavor—the perfect bite-size bagel and lox.
Herbed Cucumber and Radish Tea Sandwiches
I've always loved that removing the crust from your sandwich and slicing it on the diagonal pretty much instantly classes it up. Suddenly, this light and dainty bite is no ordinary sandwich: it's a tea sandwich.
Of course, it's not quite so simple—ideally, you want to buy a whole loaf of white bread and slice it at home, thinly enough to see light peaking through the pores. Once you've done the slicing, though, your work is nearly done. Each piece of bread is buttered and then topped with a filling of labne (yogurt cheese) flecked with dill, chives, and oh-so-springy pea shoots. The spread gets some extra acidity from lemon juice and a meaty punch from Worcestershire sauce. Then thin-sliced cucumbers and peppery radishes add a finishing crunch.
Skillet Spring Frittata With Asparagus and Goat Cheese
I like to think of the frittata as a happy marriage between an omelette and scrambled eggs, though it's actually easier to perfect than either one. All you really need is an oven-safe skillet (ideally cast iron), some eggs, and your filling of choice—I love the asparagus and goat cheese combo here, but ramps, scallions, fiddlehead ferns, or garlic scapes would all be great spring-friendly alternatives. You start by sautéing the vegetables on the stove, and then add the whisked eggs, stirring to combine and sprinkling the surface with goat cheese. Once the eggs have started to firm up, you just slide the skillet under the broiler and let it brown and crisp up on top. You don't even need a serving dish—the cast iron skillet makes for a great rustic presentation all on its own.
Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta With Granola Streusel
While most the dishes for this brunch can be served on platters, there's something nice about presenting individually plated dishes for a more personal touch. Luckily, these goblets of panna cotta are best made ahead of time, so when company arrives, you just have to pull them out of the refrigerator.
The recipe itself is a great trick to have up your sleeve: you start by sprinkling gelatin into warm water, and then you stir it into a saucepan of hot milk and sugar. Meanwhile, you whisk together Greek yogurt, cream, and vanilla. Then the two mixtures are combined, poured into glasses, and transferred to the fridge to set. The whole process takes maybe 15 minutes, and you're left with an intensely rich and creamy chilled breakfast sweet that pairs perfectly with a garnish of butter- and sugar-toasted granola.
Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria
This pitcher-ready sparkling sangria combines tart bittersweet grapefruit juice and Lillet Rosé, a fruity, faintly oaky, orange peel-scented French fortified wine. Simple syrup adds some requisite sweetness while muddled fresh mint leaves lend a fresh, aromatic snappiness to the base. Topped off with a dry effervescent Cava, it makes a bright, not-too-boozy drink that'll pick you up instead of putting you to sleep.