Photo d’une cosse de pois vert mûr avec petits pois ronds sur fond jaune.

Le brunch est servi!

Des plats qui privilégient les ingrédients les plus frais de la saison
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Host a brunch that celebrates the freshest food the season has to offer with our make-ahead menu that lets you relax and enjoy your guests.

Photo d’une cosse de pois vert mûr avec petits pois ronds sur fond jaune.

Smoked Ham Strata 

If ever there was a dish designed for brunch, it must be a strata — great for making ahead, easily accommodating 6 to 8, starring eggs and enhancers: fine ham or smoked salmon, with herbed cream cheese to pull all these tastes together. This Smoked Ham Strata is adapted from cookbook author Rose Murray’s recipe in her bestseller Rose Murray’s Comfortable Kitchen Cookbook.

2/3 cup (160 mL) herbed cream cheese, softened (150 g package)

12 slices homemade-style white bread or brioche bread (challah) or 6 large rolls halved horizontally

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 cups (325 mL) chopped Black Forest ham

1 cup (250 mL) shredded Swiss cheese

4 large eggs

2 1/3 cups (580 mL) milk

1/3 cup (80 mL) sour cream

2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper

Butter a 13-by-9-inch (33 x 23 cm) glass baking dish; set aside. A generous hour before serving the strata, arrange a rack in the centre of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Evenly spread the cream cheese over the bread slices; cut in half on the diagonal. Arrange 12 of the diagonal halves, cheese side up, in 2 rows the length of the baking dish. You will need to do some overlapping. Evenly sprinkle half of the onions and parsley, followed by half of the ham, over the bread slices. 

Repeat the 2 rows of overlapping bread. Sprinkle the remaining onions, parsley, ham and the Swiss cheese overtop. 

In a generous bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sour cream, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the fancied-up bread. Cover with foil; refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight as the bread soaks up the egg mixture.

Bake, still covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top is crusty and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. The tip of a knife inserted into the centre of the strata should come out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving with the Roasted Asparagus and Radishes.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Variation: For Smoked Salmon Strata, replace the ham with chopped smoked salmon and add 2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh dill to the parsley.

Photo d’un champ de rhubarbe

From Shoots to Pods Salad

Why should asparagus be considered the ultimate spring vegetable, leaving fresh peas on the sidelines? This three-pea salad helps balance the score.

2 cups (500 mL) stringless sugar snap peas, trimmed 

1 cup (250 mL) shelled garden peas

1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated

2 cups (500 mL) pea shoots

1/4 cup (60 mL) finely sliced chives or green part of green onions



1/3 cup (80 mL) canola oil

2 tbsp (30 mL) white balsamic vinegar

1 tsp (5 mL) liquid honey

1 tsp (5 mL) grainy Dijon mustard

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Drop the snap peas and shelled garden peas into boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately transfer to ice water to chill. As soon as the pods are cold, remove and pat dry. Choose about 1 cup of the thinnest pods and slice thinly on the diagonal. Open the remaining pods to reveal beautiful rows of peas. Set sliced pods, open pods and the garden peas aside for the moment.

Arrange the lettuce leaves in a large salad bowl, tearing the bigger leaves in half, keeping the inner leaves whole. Sprinkle with the sliced pods, shelled garden peas, pea shoots and chives. Nestle the opened pods among the pea shoots. (Make-ahead: Cover well and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.)

Dressing: Whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.

Bring the salad to the table for the admiration of guests. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to serve. 

Makes 8 servings.

Tip: Add thinly sliced mini cucumbers and radishes if you are not roasting the radishes to make Roasted Asparagus and Radishes.

Roasted Asparagus and Radishes

Salute spring with these two fresh vegetables you can prep a day ahead and pop into the oven once the strata has finished baking.

2 lbs (900 g) asparagus

16 medium-size red radishes

1/3 cup (80 mL) olive oil

Salt and pepper

Break off the coarse butt of each asparagus stalk; trim the radishes, leaving the root and about 1/2 inch (1 1/2 cm) of the leaf stems. Cut in half, root to stem ends. (Make-ahead: Wrap the vegetables in a clean kitchen towel and refrigerate in a plastic container for up to 1 day.) Arrange the asparagus and radishes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Brush with oil. Just before roasting, season with salt and pepper. In a 400°F (200°C) oven, roast vegetables until crisp tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Serve on a hot platter.

Photo of a Rhubarb patch

Springtime Eton Mess

A mess is more than dishes stacked in the sink: Itʼs an airy dessert adapted to fruits of the season — in the spring, Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberries, with the Meringue Kisses and whipped cream. A popular way to present an Eton Mess is to combine the fruit, meringues and cream in dessert dishes, often glass ones to show off the layers of fruit, cream and meltingly crunchy meringues. For this menu, guests are invited to make their own mess.

Meringue Kisses

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 tsp (1 mL) cream of tartar

1/2 cup (125 mL) fine granulated sugar

Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper. Set 1 oven rack just below the centre of the oven, the second just above. Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C). 

In a clean bowl and using a stand or hand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Beating at high, gradually add the sugar. Keep beating for about 8 to 10 minutes until the peaks are white, glossy and super firm.

With a piping bag fitted with a star tip, or using 2 teaspoons, shape about 80 small stars (kisses) on the prepared pans. Bake 1 hour, rotate and change racks; bake an hour more. Turn off the heat and let the kisses dry out until the oven is room temperature, or even overnight. 

Store in layers separated by waxed paper in airtight containers for up to several weeks. Makes about 80 Meringue Kisses.

Roasted Rhubarb with Strawberries

4 cups (1 L) evenly chopped rhubarb, pink recommended

1 cup (250 mL) water

1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar

2 cups (500 mL) sliced strawberries

1 1/2 cups (325 mL) whipping cream

Fresh spearmint leaves, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350℉ (180℃). Nestle the rhubarb snuggly in a single layer in a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish; set aside. Combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the rhubarb, coating the pieces thoroughly. Bake until the rhubarb is tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool. Do not stir. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.) 

To serve, use a slotted spoon to transfer the rhubarb pieces, being careful to keep the rhubarb chunks whole. Top with the strawberries in a neat layer. Drizzle the syrupy rhubarb juices over the berries; refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight. Strawberry juices will mingle with the rhubarb syrup. Makes about 4 to 5 cups (1 to 1.25 L) of compote.

To assemble: Whip the cream to languid peaks. Scrape into a serving bowl; add mint. Group the fruit, cream and meringue on the buffet table. Makes more than enough for 8 lucky brunchers. 

Photo de tourbillons à la cannelle

Cinnamon Swirls

All the taste and hot-out-of-the-oven comfort of yeast-based cinnamon buns — but a quick-bread version that you can make ahead and pair up with the morning’s welcoming first cup of coffee.

2 1/2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour

2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder

1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/2 cup (125 mL) cold butter, cubed

1 large egg

3/4 cup (180 mL) well-shaken cold buttermilk


Cinnamon filling

3 tbsp (45 mL) soft butter

1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar

1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped pecan or walnut halves

2 tsp (10 mL) ground cinnamon


1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar

2 tbsp (30 mL) milk 

Dash vanilla

Line a 12-inch (30 cm) pizza pan or a 9-inch (23 cm) metal cake tin with parchment paper; set aside. With the oven rack in the centre of the oven, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With a pastry blender, work the butter into these dry ingredients until they are crumbly. It’s good to leave some of the butter a little larger, about green-pea size.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Pour over the dry ingredients, and with a fork, toss the ingredients up from the bottom of the bowl until they form a ragged dough. Scrape out onto a floured surface and knead about 10 times or until smooth. Dusting enough flour to keep the dough from sticking, roll the dough into a rectangle 14 inches (35 cm) long.

Filling: Spread butter over the dough, leaving 1/2 inch (1 1/2 cm) bare along the furthest long edge. Sprinkle the sugar, nuts and cinnamon evenly over the buttered dough. Starting with the front long edge, roll up the dough firmly into a log. Pinch the unbuttered edge of the dough to the log.

With a serrated knife and a light pressure on the blade, cut into 12 slices, wiping the blade between cuts. Start with a slice set cut-side up in the centre of the pan; surround with 2 rounds of remaining swirls. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Add about 5 to 10 minutes to baking time.)

Bake until puffed, golden on top and fully fragrant, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.

Glaze: Stir together the icing sugar, milk and vanilla. Brush generously over the swirls, using up all the glaze. Let set for a few minutes before serving warm.

Makes 12 Cinnamon Swirls.

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