In theory, brunch is a meal between breakfast and lunch, but in practice, it’s a late breakfast with alcohol. In fact, it’s the only time it’s ok to have a drink before noon. It’s sort of the reverse of feeding Mogwais. Sort of.
You think New York isn’t going to change you when you move there, but then you live there for a few years and you go to visit your old hometown and it’s Saturday and you say to your friends “Let’s get brunch!” and they say “It’s not Sunday,” and you start thinking terrible things about the place you’re from and the people who live there just because they don’t have huevos rancheros and a Bloody Maria on whatever day you decide you want them and then you ask yourself “When did I become this person?” You might think that I’m describing the experience of a very narrow segment of society that moves to New York, but I have it on very good authority that it happens to everyone. When Uzbeki immigrants return to Tashkent, the first thing they ask on Saturday morning is “Where can I get some strawberry crepes and a mimosa?” and when their dear aunts and uncles and cousins say “Nowhere,” they say “I am never coming back to this place and I don’t respect people who don’t have the good sense to leave.”
Here in NYC we can have our brunch 7 days a week. Sometimes, though, it’s fun to stay at home for brunch, especially if you’re broke. And let’s face it, everyone is broke now.
This breakfast is a paired-down version of a dish they serve at Roebling Tea Room. The grits recipe is inspired by my friend Jason’s amazing grits which are available on weekends at Kenny’s Trattoria. Kenny’s website says they are a Williamsburg institution of goodness, and I wholeheartedly agree.
The grits recipe is simple: make grits, then whisk in a shocking amount of room temperature butter, salt, pepper, and maybe some parmesan. In case no amount of butter can shock you, add 2 tablespoons per serving. If you are particularly daring add a little bacon grease too.
Baked eggs are light and delicate, and a nice alternative to fried, scrambled, or poached. Because they cook all on their own, this is a great dish to serve when you have guests or are the slightest bit lazy.
2 eggs per serving
1-2 tablespoons butter per serving
Ideally your eggs and butter will be at room temperature, but it will be fine if their not. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter one oven-proof ramekin for each guest, place the tablespoon of butter on the bottom. When the oven is up to temperature put the ramekins in for a minute to melt the butter. Remove ramekins, and crack two eggs into each being careful to preserve the yoke. Bake eggs for 12-15 minutes. If you’re adding cheese, shred a tablespoon or so per ramekin and add after 7 minutes or so. You’ll know the eggs are ready when the whites turn opaque; check the eggs often so as not to overcook. Keep in mind that they will continue to cook in the ramekins once they are out of the oven; try to err on the slightly undercooked side.
Finish with a twist of pepper and a sprinkle of herbs or cheese. Serve in the ramekin.