When was the last time you walked into a restaurant for brunch, starving from the long night of drunkorexia, and pined over a list of tasty looking appetizers? Probably never, well, because breakfast is primarily just a single course meal. Sure you may get toast with your eggs, or order a side of bacon with your flapjacks, but breakfast appetizers are about as popular as an egg and bacon soufflé at a taco truck at 2am.
Jar has popovers, Grub has a bowl of dry cereal that’s plopped down at your table before you order, some places offer breakfast scones, but that’s about it. I love breakfast, so why not enjoy a few small bites of bacon, potato and sausage goodies before the main course? So this past weekend, I set out to make a few of my own.
The first appetizer I took a stab at was just an idea I had floating around in my head. Mini crepes with crab and herb scrambled eggs, finished with a spear of asparagus (recipe at bottom). I found some Russian Blini at Surfas. They resembled crepes, and since they were pre-made for me, and I had lots of cooking to do, they were the perfect stand in. I used a can of crab meat from Trader Joes, some fresh basil and rosemary from the garden mixed in with the scrambled eggs. I cut the asparagus in half and then blanched them in some boiling water. They turned out great, but were sort of hard to grab and eat with your fingers without the egg falling out.
Next on my list was a recipe that I stumbled on while on Chowhound. They are called Potato Bites, they reminded me of large potato knishes, but made in a muffin tin. I struggled with the poorly written directions a bit, and my food processor turned the potatoes into a grey mush, just as someone else had commented on. They turned out mushy on the inside but crisp and brown on the outside. I recommend dicing the potatoes by hand instead of putting them through the food processor, or perhaps pulsing a few potatoes at a time to avoid the mush factor.
I started on the Fresh Berry Tart next from Rouxbe, and quickly realized I should have started these first, as they were a bit more complicated than I had anticipated. I used some puff pastry shell that I got at Surfas Café instead of the making the Pate Sucree Dough provided in the recipe. Maybe one of the reasons why they puffed up as much as they did while baking (plus I was lacking the dried baking beans and pie weights). The dough and custard require additional refrigeration time, so that’s why I suggest you start the tarts first to get them out of the way. But once assembled with the custard, fresh cut fruit and apricot glaze, they looked and tasted delicious, and made a nice little final course for our breakfast appetizers.
Finally, and probably the winner of the apps, was the Sausage with Puff Pastry that I got from B&B Online. The site provide recipes from Bed and Breakfast locations around the US. This dish was very comforting, and I could imagine snacking on these with a cup of coffee and a newspaper on a porch at a B&B up in Napa before a day of wine tasting. Simply brown the sausage, peel and chop an apple, add in 2 scrambled eggs, herb stuffing, green onions and mushrooms then wrap in a puff pastry. Very simple to make.
When it came down to it, it was lots of cooking for just a few bites. But I enjoyed having a taste of several different small breakfast goodies as opposed to having a heavy plate of just pancakes. I doubt I’ll be walking into a restaurant anytime soon and ordering any appetizers for breakfast, but in case you do, you heard it here first. Tip: the mimosas with a floater of Grand Marnier helped pass the time while cooking.
Crab and fresh herb mini crepes with asparagus
1 package of Russian Blini
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh basil (chopped)
2 eggs, scrambled
5 (approximately) asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the crepes in the package according to instructions. Scramble two eggs, add the chopped fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Open and drain the crab meat, add as much or as little of the crab meat to the eggs as you want. Cut the asparagus in halves lengthwise and blanch in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside. Open the package of crepes and overlap 2 of the crepes slightly and add the crab and egg mixture over the crepes. Finish off with a couple of asparagus spears and serve immediately.