Star chefs aren’t usually early risers, said Kate Heddings in Food & Wine. Most work very late hours. But recently “chefs on both coasts have begun heading back to their restaurants at dawn” to create inventive French-, Italian-, German-, and Mexican-inspired morning menus. Neal Fraser at Los Angeles’ BLD (Breakfast Lunch Dinner) Restaurant claims that breakfast is his “favorite meal.” Here are two recipes that show what a great chef can do with a meal that, “at its core, is homey and welcoming.”
Recipes of the week
White Bean Huevos Rancheros
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7 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 canned chipotle chili in adobo, minced (about 1 tsp), plus 1 tsp of the adobo sauce from the can
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp very finely chopped cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oz thickly sliced ham, coarsely chopped
Two 15-oz cans white beans, drained
1/2 cup water
12 corn tortillas, warmed
1 dozen large eggs
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
Sour cream and guacamole, for serving
In medium saucepan, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add garlic, half of onion; cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, chipotle, adobo sauce; cook over low heat, stirring, until tomatoes have broken down but are still slightly chunky, about 20 minutes. Stir in lime juice and cilantro, season with salt and pepper; keep warm.
In medium skillet, heat 2 tbsp of oil until shimmering. Add remaining onion; cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ham and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add beans and water, season with salt and pepper, cook over moderately low heat, mashing, about 10 minutes.
Preheat broiler. Spoon bean mixture into 6 ovenproof shallow bowls and top with 2 folded tortillas. Set bowls on sturdy baking sheet. In large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil. Crack 4 eggs into skillet; cook over moderate heat until bottoms are just set, about 2 minutes. Transfer 2 eggs to each bowl. Repeat 2 more times with remaining oil and eggs.
Sprinkle queso fresco over eggs. Broil eggs 6 inches from heat for about 1 minute, until cheese is lightly browned and egg yolks are just set. Spoon warm tomato salsa on top and serve with sour cream and guacamole. Serves 6.
Brioche French Toast
With Fresh Berry Compote
1 lb mixed fresh berries, such as strawberries and raspberries, sliced (4 cups)
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
6 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground allspice
Unsalted butter, for the griddle
Twelve 3/4-inch-thick slices of brioche (from 2 small loaves)
Crème fraîche, for serving
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. In medium saucepan, combine berries with 1/4 cup sugar and the water, bring to simmer. Cook over moderate heat until berries are softened and sugar is dissolved, about 8 minutes. In large bowl, whisk eggs with heavy cream, remaining 3 tbsp of sugar, and ground spices. Transfer to 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Heat large cast-iron griddle and lightly butter it. Working in batches, dip half of brioche in egg mixture, turning once, until moistened but not soggy. Transfer bread to griddle; cook over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer French toast to baking sheet; cover loosely with foil and keep warm in oven while you cook the rest. Serve French toast with berry compote and crème fraîche. Serves 6.
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