A New Orleans style brunch is the perfect fix for a lazy Sunday morning.
It's those weekend mornings when you've stayed in bed way past what could reasonably be considered breakfast-time that call for a big, tipsy, just-a-bit greasy brunch. Take a cue from the folks in New Orleans—who practically invented the tradition—by serving up this feast with a steaming cafe au lait and a hunk of French bread. It's just the thing to get you through to nap time.
STRAWBERRY GIN FIZZ
The Ramos Fizz, that classic cocktail of pre-Prohibition New Orleans, hit the scene in 1888 and was the drink until the Feds drained the city of its booze. The dramatic prep-work may have contributed to its allure—dozens of barkeeps had to shake their arms off to keep up with demand in those pre-blender days.
3 oz. gin (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup frozen limeade
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
6 ice cubes Seltzer water
Combine everything but the seltzer in the jar of your blender. Blend until thoroughly combined and frothy, about 1 to 2 minutes. (There should be no lumps of ice.)Pour a splash of seltzer in the bottom of 2 tall Collins glasses, then top with the gin fizz mixture. Garnish with a strawberry slice. (Note: Cocktail may separate after a few minutes. No need to worry, just give it a stir and keep sipping.)
CHEDDAR GRITS CAKES WITH POACHED EGGS
1/2 cup quick-cooking grits
3/4 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/8 cup flour
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
Salt and pepper
1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan with a lid. Add the grits and a dash of salt; stir and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese until combined. Remove from heat and stir in the hot sauce and pepper to taste.
2. Lightly oil an 8-inch cake pan. Pour the grits into the pan and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. (Note: The grits can be prepared the night before. Pour them in the pan, let cool, cover, and keep in the fridge.)
3. While the grits are chilling, prepare the collard greens (recipe below). When the grits are very firm and no longer warm, remove them from the fridge and cut them into 4 cakes using a glass with a 3-inch diameter rim.
4. Put the flour in a saucer and season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot (but not smoking), dredge the cakes in the flour, shake off the excess, and fry them all together in the skillet, turning once, until they are golden brown.
5. While the cakes are frying, poach the eggs: Bring 2 inches of salted water to a boil in a wide, shallow saucepan or skillet. Add the vinegar and the eggs and poach over high heat for 3 minutes. The eggs will keep their shape best if you crack each one into a teacup and then slide it into the water, just at the surface.
6. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, drain well, and serve them on the hot grit cakes with a mound of collard greens.
BACONY COLLARD GREENS
5 slices bacon, diced
1 pound collard greens
Crushed red pepper flakes
1. Remove the tough stems and large center ribs from the collard leaves. Make stacks of 3 or 4 leaves and shred them crosswise very thinly with a large knife. Put the shredded greens in a strainer and rinse thoroughly but don’t dry them. (The water will help them steam.)
2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy and brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate covered with paper towels.
3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the skillet, reduce the heat and add the shredded greens. Sprinkle the greens lightly with salt and a generous pinch of crushed red pepper and toss them well.
4. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Check the greens midway through to make sure there is still liquid in the pan. If not, add a splash of water and give them a stir
5. Move the greens into a bowl, drain off excess liquid, and stir in the bacon. Cover and keep in a warm place until ready to serve.