It’s the time of year to take advantage of temperate weather before the summer season comes barreling around the corner, taking with it the cool mornings and evenings we've enjoyed this spring.
For the next installment of the Texas-Italian Kitchen, Chef Rebecca Meeker of Austin's award-winning Jeffrey's takes to the outdoors with brunch recipes that serve as light and flavorful mash-ups of Lucchese’s heritage — one part Texan, another part Italian.
“I love the idea of a big table outside, dining with friends and family,” explains Meeker of her inspiration around the morning meal. “As a chef, our favorite time to dine is brunch because we work nights and dinner. We’re always cooking dinner, so it’s enjoyable to cook eggs and something a little different.”
An Italian bruschetta made from Texas strawberries, farm fresh eggs topped with homemade pesto, ricotta pancakes and much, much more are guaranteed to have you look forward to waking up this weekend and whipping up breakfast for your brood.
Follow the original Texas-Italian recipes below for your own al-fresco experience this weekend.
BURRATA + STRAWBERRY TOAST
1 loaf of sourdough, sliced in half-inch slices, toasted
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 cup burrata cheese (Gioia Cheese is Meeker's favorite)
½ cup basil leaves
½ cup Texas olive oil
fine sea salt & cracked black pepper
On each piece of toast, place a dollop of burrata cheese. On top of the cheese, garnish with strawberry slices and basil leaves. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the toast, and season with salt and pepper.
GREEN STRAWBERRY SALAD
2 cups buttermilk
¼ red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, diced
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
¼ cup chives, chopped
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 head bibb lettuce
1 small jalapeno, sliced in thin circles
1 large avocado, sliced
2 cups of green strawberries
In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix everything together. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
Parsley & Oregano Pesto:
1 cup parsley, rough chopped
1 cup oregano, rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
2/3 cup Texas olive oil
fine sea salt & cracked black pepper
Combine, the parsley and oregano, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and black pepper.
4 large eggs
15 pencil asparagus
Preheat your oven to 350-degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, add the asparagus and ramps. Toss with 1 cup of the pesto. Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil in a cast iron pan to coat the bottom. Place the asparagus and ramps, and then crack 4 eggs in the cast iron pan. Place in the oven and cook for 7 minutes, or until desired done-ness of the eggs. Serve the baked eggs in the cast iron pan and drizzle the remaining pesto on top.
RICOTTA + POPPY SEED PANCAKE
Pancakes (makes 6):
Stonewall Kitchen Pancake & Waffle Mix (Meeker's favorite)
2/3 cup + 2 tbsp milk
1 large egg
1 cup pancake mix
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp poppy seeds
Preheat griddle to 350-degrees F. Whisk together milk and egg. Add the pancake mix, melted butter and poppy seeds. Mix until well-combined and smooth. Pour batter onto griddle by 1/4-cupfuls. Cook until golden brown, flip and cook for another 2 minutes.
Kumquat Maple Syrup:
1 bottle of dark amber grade A maple syrup
10 ea kumquat, remove seeds and slice in thin circles
Place maple syrup and kumquat slices in a small sauce pot and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and reserve. Stack the warm pancakes on a platter, layer ricotta cheese in between each pancake, and pour the warm kumquat-maple syrup over the pancake stack.
Don't forget to try our previous Texas-Italian recipe: Pan roasted ribeye with hot pepper pepperonata and pear and persimmon caprese.