When I think of the perfect brunch, a Sunday morning comes to mind, one where I don't have to go anywhere or do anything other than lounge in my PJs, read a new magazine (or two) and drink my coffee while clipping recipe ideas and perusing pictures of my future dream home. A point where Jamie and I have yet to come to an agreement is the kitchen cabinets... I dream of pretty white cabinets, and he's not quite on board with the whole white cabinet thing. But more important than the color of the cabinets is having a big kitchen with a huge, rustic farmhouse-style table - I don't care much for formal dining rooms - where I envision lots of fun dinners with family and friends.
To me, the kitchen is the heart and soul of a home. It's the place where everyone gathers, where people feel warm and comfortable and full, where the lovely aromas of apple crumbles, freshly baked breads, flaky pie crusts, warm pots of soup, cinnamon and sugar and steaming coffee permeate the rest of the house, drawing everyone back to the kitchen.
Of course, for my perfect brunch, there's brunch food, too. It can be anything really... warm, streusel-topped muffins and jam, a tomato tart, toast and a poached egg, or just simple scrambled eggs with potatoes and vegetables.
Growing up, I didn't know there was any way to cook eggs other than scrambled or hard-boiled. The first time I tasted a poached egg, Jamie made me breakfast one weekend morning during our first year together, and he presented me with a beautiful English muffin, topped with crispy prosciutto, a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. The runny yolk was this gorgeous sauce that soaked into the muffin, so creamy and rich. And just like that, my limited notions of how to cook an egg were gone.
In thinking about the pizza dough recipe I've made several times lately, in particular for the mini pizzas topped with caramelized balsamic onions and Parmesan, I decided a breakfast pizza would be just perfect for brunch. I planned to make the dough on Saturday so that it was ready to go first thing on Sunday, but... life happens, I got busy, and never made the dough, but thought I would get to it later that night. But we went out to dinner that night for some deliciously spicy curry, followed by The Raven. Between the spicy food making my stomach too full, the scary movie, and getting home at 12:30 that night, we fell straight into bed.
So, upon waking up Sunday morning, I realized I had forgotten to make the pizza dough and not only that, but there was no cheese in the fridge. Jamie headed downstairs to work on his car while I mixed and kneaded the dough, then set it in a bowl to rise. I knew this would no longer be the relaxing morning I had hoped for, since I would have to get dressed and go to the store for cheese - and as long as I was there, go ahead and do the grocery shopping for the week.
We ended up eating "brunch" at almost 1:30 that afternoon. Which was okay, because this pizza is as wonderful for lunch or dinner as it is for breakfast. And as good as the pizza dough is leftover if you need to refrigerate or freeze portions of it, there's nothing like the soft and chewy texture of the dough when you bake it right after it rises.
And now I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a weekend morning where I haven't forgotten any ingredients and the weather keeps us inside all day...
Breakfast Pizza with Turkey Bacon, Spinach, Fontina and Gruyere, and an Egg
- recipe for "Honey Pizza Dough" (omit the cinnamon and add 1 teaspoon dried dill)
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- handful of fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped
- 8 slices turkey bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped
- 1/2 cup Fontina cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
- 4 eggs
- coarse salt and cracked pepper
Prepare the dough as instructed in previous post (click above link for recipe and instructions). On a lightly floured surface, roll or press dough out into four 8-inch rounds.
Preheat the oven to 450. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; place the dough on the baking sheets. Prick a 1-inch border all around the dough, then several times in the middle to prevent it from bubbling too much. Brush with olive oil.
Prebake the dough for 4-5 minutes until very pale golden, but still doughy. Sprinkle half the spinach over the dough, reserving the rest for later. Top with the turkey bacon and the cheese, then carefully crack an egg in the middle of each pizza, taking care not to break the yolk. Bake for another 5-6 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the whites of the eggs are set but the centers are still jiggly. Sprinkle the rest of the spinach on top of the pizzas and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Serve immediately. The runny yolk is wonderful for dipping the crust into!
Yields 4 servings.
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen