Here we are facing down the last days of summer before school days start. If you are planning a last hoorah in the form of a weekend brunch, here is the menu for you. Both the entrée and the dessert can be made the day ahead, with the simple, unique salad (that is best served at room temperature), put together quickly and easily just before serving.
The delicious combination of bacon, potatoes and corn festooned with bits of scallions is especially appealing made with fresh corn cut from the cob and those cunning little potatoes with the skins left on. Slip an over-easy egg on top of each serving, and you’ll be very pleased with yourself.
This hash can also be spooned onto flatbread, shrouded in melted cheese or used as a frittata or omelet filling.
Bread pudding (aka baked French toast) is a satisfying way to highlight fruit or berries you have on hand. Peaches are plentiful at my house just now so that’s what we’re having. The caramel sauce is worth making, but if you prefer, Maine maple syrup always enhances anything!
Bacon, Potato & Corn Hash
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, diced
1 pound potatoes, scrubbed and diced into 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ears fresh corn kernels cut from the cob (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Fry bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving drippings in the pan. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
Heat bacon fat over medium/medium-high heat then add potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let potatoes cook without disturbing until they are golden underneath. Turn and repeat this process until the potatoes are browned on all sides, about 20 minutes. Push aside potatoes and carefully spoon off all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.
With the heat on medium-high, add the corn to the skillet. Sauté potatoes and corn together until the corn gets a bit caramelized, about 4-5 minutes. Add bacon and stir mixture together until heated through.
Remove skillet from heat and sprinkle scallions over the hash. Season with more salt or pepper to taste, if needed. Yield: 4 servings
Tomato & Watermelon Salad
1 medium-sized seeded watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
6 large mint leaves, julienned
Place all ingredients in a large bowl.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Stir all ingredients together in a glass measuring cup. Pour over watermelon-tomato mixture and gently toss. Yield: 4 servings
Peach Bread Pudding
4 cups Brioche bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups fresh peaches, peeled and diced
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter, divided
Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Layer half the bread cubes, then half the peaches. Repeat with remaining bread and peaches.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg until well-combined. Slowly pour egg mixture over the top of the bread and peaches. Gently press down on the bread with a spoon to ensure the bread is coated with the egg custard.
Melt the remaining butter and evenly drizzle it over the top of the bread pudding. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Pour caramel sauce over the top and allow to cool for 15 minutes to allow sauce to soak into the bread pudding before serving. Yield: 6 servings
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Place butter in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add sugars and whisk constantly for three minutes until the sauce is thick and foamy or until it reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in half-and-half and vanilla.