It’s January 1—and that means college football! It’s the Crimson Tide of Alabama versus the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in the College Football Playoffs. In our house, SLF will likely take Alabama in honor of our dear friends who live there; I don’t really care about football, but I’ll take Notre Dame just so we can give each other sh*t!!
But before we disappear into the couch, I want to start the New Year off with a celebratory (but simple) brunch! I did a version of this for Christmas breakfast, and it was lovely. (Too bad I didn’t take more photos--sad face.)
Freshly Baked Popovers
Smoked Salmon with Dill Sauce
Marin French Petite Breakfast Cheese and Rochetta Cheese
Assorted Jams and/or Honey
The beauty of this menu (besides that it’s so delicious!) is that all the elements complement each other. The popovers are divine with the salmon and dill sauce, the jam or honey, or either of the cheeses. And of course, mimosas always make brunch better, no matter what you’re serving!
Here’s how to get this brunch on the table, pronto:
A Day or Two Before: Do most of the prep (except the popovers):
1) Shop for all the ingredients.
2). Pour fresh orange juice into a pitcher, then pop it into the refrigerator along with a bottle of champagne/Prosecco.
3) Arrange the salmon and cheeses in their original packaging on a platter; garnish with a few fronds of dill; refrigerate.
4) Make the dill sauce (it only takes five minutes and tastes even better on day two), then spoon some jam or honey into small condiment bowls. Cover all these with plastic wrap; refrigerate.
5) Set the table with your champagne bucket, glasses, plates, flatware and napkins.
Dill Sauce (Makes one cup)
1 cup sour cream
3 TBSP fresh dill fronds, chopped
2 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
½ tsp sugar
Freshly ground pepper
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl, making sure the sugar dissolves. Garnish with a dill frond. Cover and refrigerate.
On New Year’s morning: The whole popover process takes just under an hour, including baking for 30-35 minutes. They taste best right out of the oven, so you’ll need to get everything ready to go while they bake. Use a blender to make the batter and you can bake in either a muffin tin (shorter popovers) or a popover tin (taller). Before starting the popovers, pull the salmon and cheese platter out of the refrigerator to warm up. (Most cheese tastes best served at room temperature.). And ice the champagne in your bucket.
Popover Recipe (Makes 6 large or 12 medium)
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups of milk
¾ TSP salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 TBSP melted butter, plus more for greasing pan
First, set an oven rack on one of the lower shelves, then preheat the oven to 450F. Generously grease the muffin tin/popover pan with butter, including the top area between the cups. Next, warm four eggs in a bowl of hot water for about ten minutes. In the meantime, heat 1 ½ cups of milk to lukewarm in the microwave. Melt three tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Measure out 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour and ¾ teaspoon of salt.
Note: Before starting to make the batter, make sure the oven temperature is 450F. (A very hot oven is crucial to success here!)
To make the batter: Using a blender, whirl the eggs, milk and salt. Add the flour and mix until smooth with no lumps. Finally, pour in the melted butter and mix until frothy.
Fill the greased muffin tin/popover pan 2/3 to ¾ full of the batter. Once again verify that the oven temperature is 450F and pop the popovers onto the lower rack.
Bake for 20 minutes at 450F, then lower the heat to 350F for 10 more minutes if using a muffin tin. (If using a popover pan, add another 5 minutes at 350F.).
DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN UNTIL THE TIMER GOES OFF!
If you see (through the oven window!) that the popovers are getting too brown, you can then (and only then!) open the oven to lay a piece of foil on the oven rack above the popovers to shield them.
In the meantime, uncover the salmon/cheese platter, the jams, honey, dill sauce and orange juice and set on the table with the champagne.
When the popovers are done, gently lift them out of the pan and use a knife to poke a small slit in the side of each to let out the steam. Serve them immediately.
OMG, sooooo good!! Uncork the champagne and pour me a mimosa, please.
And Happy New Year!
(The decimated platter of salmon, cheese and dill sauce!)
-Any type of milk works in the popovers: whole, low-fat or skim.
-While I wouldn't mess with it for this menu, another time you might add sweet or savory dried herbs to the popover batter for more flavor. Try thyme, sage, rosemary or cinnamon.
-If you can’t find Rochetta cheese (try a good cheese shop), a Petit-Suisse or Mascarpone can be substituted. (https://www.gourmetsleuth.com/ingredients/detail/rocchetta).
-If you can’t find Marin French Breakfast Cheese, a firm, mild brie is a nice substitute.