The Big Little Lunch

Produced and styled by Mindi Shapiro Levine

Photographed by Mary Britton Senseney

Recipe development and food styling by Tonya West


Summer’s warm weather brings opportunities for entertaining outdoors early in the day. It’s an ideal time of the year to have friends over for brunch.

Without a doubt, Sunday is the most popular day for brunch, which can be a casual, relaxed, unhurried affair. It is a comforting meal, a combination of a lazily late breakfast and an early lunch featuring both delicious morning staples and light midday treats.

This menu takes advantage of some of the season’s best fresh produce, enlivening it with flavor and putting a spin on the time-honored fare.  It features seared lemon salmon benedict with hollandaise sauce studded with capers, fresh fruit with an orange reduction served in warm crepes, and a spicy bloody Mary with pickled okra and string beans.


Seared Salmon Benedict

Yield: 4 servings


4 6-ounce salmon fillets

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 fresh lemon


fresh dill

1 baguette

8 eggs


Season salmon with salt and pepper to taste. Brush with olive oil. Sear over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes per side or until the fish flakes easily. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over salmon. Cut the baguette into 4 sections and lightly toast the sections open-faced. Top with salmon and poached eggs. Drizzle with hollandaise sauce. Garnish with capers and dill to preference.


Hollandaise Sauce

Yield: 1 cup


3 egg yolks

1 tablespoon cold water

½ cup clarified butter

½ teaspoon lemon juice

Tabasco sauce

salt to taste


Combine egg yolks and water on the top of a double boiler, and beat with a whisk over hot water until the eggs are fluffy. Add a few drops of butter to the mixture and beat until the butter has blended, and the sauce begins to thicken. Make sure water in boiler remains at a medium heat. Continue adding the butter in small amounts, stirring constantly. Add salt and lemon juice. Add 1 teaspoon of water for a lighter consistency.


Fresh Fruit Crepes

Yield:  Approximately 20 crepes


1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1½ cups of whole milk

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon butter

zest of 1 orange

zest of 1 lemon

juice of ½ orange

1 pint blueberries

1 pint strawberries

4 kiwi fruit

4 oranges


Mix flour, sugar, milk, eggs and butter and whisk until smooth. Prepare batter at least 30 minutes before needed. Lightly butter 6-inch pan. Heat over medium heat until bubbly. Ladle ¼ cup of the batter into the pan until a thin film of the batter covers the bottom. Cook until light brown. Run a wide spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen. Turn and cook the other side until light brown. Fill the crepes with fresh fruit. Fold the crepe and drizzle orange reduction over it. Use the batter as desired. Remainder of crepes can be frozen up to one week if not used.


Simple Orange Reduction

Yield: Approximately 1½ cups


1½ cups of orange juice

pulp and juice of ½ orange

½ cup of water

zest of 1 orange

2 teaspoons butter

1 teaspoon of sugar

Melt butter and combine all ingredients. Reduce on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes or until thickened.



Spicy Bloody Mary with Pickled Vegetables

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


1 quart spicy V-8 vegetable juice

8 shots (1½ ounces per shot of vodka)

½ teaspoon of coarse black pepper

1½ teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

juice of 1 lemon

celery salt

Mix all of the ingredients in a pitcher. Rim the glass with celery salt (optional). Stir and serve over ice. Garnish with okra and green beans.


Pickled Vegetables

Yield:  2 pounds


10 ounces water

1 pound green beans

1 pound fresh okra

2¼ ounces malt vinegar

¾ ounces salt

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2¼ ounces sugar

2 dill sprigs

¼ ounces pickling spices

1 tablespoon orange zest

Bring the water, vinegar, salt, sugar and pickling spices to a boil to make brine. Pack vegetables, garlic, and dill sprigs in a bell jar. Pour the brine over the vegetables. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate. Allow to marinate for approximately 24 hours or more before serving.


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