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RECIPES FOR BRUNCH: Spinach salad, frittata, and figs for dessert.

Chef Linda Weiss
Photographs by Robert Shober

Brunch is a great way to entertain. The setting can be rustic or elegant with a mixture of fruits, vegetables and egg dishes that can be prepared in many different ways and served in as many different settings. 

Preparing food for a brunch is as easy as having a bed of spinach in your garden. You can make an easy and elegant spinach and egg frittata, or an omelet with the same ingredients. My favorite way to cook spinach is with eggs in a frittata. Frittata is the Spanish version of the French omelet, just cooked a little differently.

Spinach also makes a beautiful salad with oranges and strawberries, dressed in an orange and honey vinaigrette. Just pile the spinach up on a large platter, and put enough small or sliced strawberries and orange sections to feed a crowd. Top with toasted almonds (you know that you can microwave the nuts for a minute or two in the microwave to toast them) and before serving pour a vinaigrette over the top. A good poppy seed dressing is also delicious on spinach with fruit.

Spinach & Bacon Frittata

1 teaspoon olive oil
3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cups lightly packed whole baby spinach leaves (make sure it's dry)
1/2 cup milk
6 whole eggs
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers (or your cheese of choice)
12 grape tomatoes
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (or Parmesan) cheese

Preheat the oven to 350.

Place the olive oil in a large (10-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and saute the bacon until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate.

While the bacon is cooking, prepare the egg mixture by breaking the eggs into a large bowl and adding the milk and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Add the onion to the bacon drippings and sauté until lightly caramelized. Add the spinach and cook, stirring until the spinach is tender. Add the bacon back into the skillet. Add the egg mixture over the spinach and bacon. Add the grape tomatoes over the egg mixture. Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the eggs are set.

Remove the frittata from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

The frittata should slide right out of the skillet onto a plate. Garnish with a sliced grape tomato. Serve in slices like a pie.

Spinach, Pear & Strawberry Salad

Serve this with a poppy seed dressing or Red Raspberry Dressing

3 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
3 cups baby greens
3 fresh pears, peeled and cored, and dipped in lemon juice
2 cups sliced strawberries
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Mix the spinach and baby greens together. Place them on a large platter or plate. Top with the pear slices, and sliced strawberries, and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan.

Linda note: Caramelize sliced almonds and add to the top of the salad instead of the Parmesan cheese.

Red Raspberry Vinaigrette

1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 teaspoon Country Dijon mustard

In a small bowl, mix the preserves, vinegars, white wine and mustard. Slowly drizzle and whisk the oil into the preserve, vinegar and wine mixture until the dressing has emulsified. Refrigerate any unused portion.

Good Figs

The other good food that some of our readers have right now are figs. I am smitten with figs and always have been. Fig preserves, fig cake, raw figs right off the tree and the latest one, caramelized figs in butter, served with honey yogurt; love them all. This caramelized fig and honey yogurt recipe makes a light dessert.

Caramelized Figs with Yogurt Honey

1 pound of figs
3 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons Sugar
1 (8-ounce) container of yogurt with honey at the bottom
Lemon zest

Cut the figs in half.

Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet until sizzling.

Add the figs on the cut side. Let them cook for 1 minute.

Turn the figs over so that the cut side is on top. Cook for another minute.

Sprinkle the figs with the sugar and place under the broiler until sugar is melted and figs are caramelized. Remove the figs to a heat proof serving dish.

Spoon the yogurt honey on top of the figs. Zest a lemon and sprinkle the zest over the yogurt and figs.

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