Morning Glory : The <i> Big</i> Easy Brunch


In New Orleans, brunch tends to take on an almost religious significance. People wake up, stop by Cafe du Monde for some truly horrid coffee and incredibly hot, powdered sugar-dredged beignets and then decide where to eat. Any weekend, there is an almost limitless selection of restaurants from which to choose, and a lot of energy goes into making the final decision.

Which, frankly, is probably the last expending of energy most of these folks will do for the entire day. Fact is, there’s not much a New Orleans breakfast prepares you for except maybe an early nap (and, the nutrition police are sure to remind you, an early grave). Sans beverage, this little three-course sampler adds up to more than 1,300 calories and 68 grams of fat.

And this is hardly extravagant by Creole standards. If you really want to do this authentically, you should probably start with a dozen oysters and a pile of boiled shrimp and wash the whole thing down with a Ramos gin fizz, giving way to Champagne and then bloody Marys.


Don’t worry. Mom shouldn’t have to do anything for the rest of the day, anyway. And, come to think of it, neither should the cook.


Strawberry Soup

Eggs Sardou

Bread Pudding Souffle

With Whiskey Sauce



A perfect beginning--enriched with sweet fresh orange juice and Grand Marnier. Serve the soup on the same day it’s made.


3 pints strawberries, rinsed and hulled

2 1/2 cups fresh orange juice

1/4 cup Grand Marnier

3 tablespoons sugar (omit or decrease, if berries are very sweet)

1 cup creme fraiche

Puree all but 6 of berries in blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into large bowl.

Add orange juice, Grand Marnier and sugar. Add creme fraiche and whisk until well blended. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Serve in shallow soup bowls or large balloon wine glasses. Slice reserved strawberries. Place 3 slices on top of each serving. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

194 calories; 19 mg sodium; 15 mg cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 30 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.95 gram fiber.


The granddaddy of New Orleans’ elaborate, elegant egg dishes, Eggs Sardou was created in 1908 at Antoine’s on the occasion of a dinner for the French playwright Victorien Sardou. A timeless classic, it combines creamed spinach, artichoke bottoms, poached eggs and Hollandaise Sauce. Preparing fresh artichoke bottoms takes time and should be done in advance. They can be reheated in a little hot water. If pressed for time, use canned or frozen artichokes, not, however, if they have been packed in any kind of marinade. For a delicious variation, substitute fresh crab meat, lightly sauteed, for the eggs.



2 pounds spinach

2 cups water

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

1 cup Bechamel Sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 cooked artichoke bottoms, fresh, canned or frozen

8 poached eggs

1 cup Hollandaise Sauce

To make creamed spinach, wash spinach thoroughly and discard thick, heavy stems. Bring water to rapid boil, add spinach. Cook until barely tender. Add ice or ice water to stop cooking and let drain 10 minutes. Spinach should be very dry.

Melt butter in large skillet. Add green onions and saute, stirring, 2 minutes. Add spinach and saute 2 minutes longer. Stir in Bechamel Sauce and salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

To serve, put 1/4 creamed spinach on each warmed plate and top with 2 warm artichoke bottoms. Put 2 poached eggs on artichoke bottoms and ladle over 1/4 cup Hollandaise Sauce. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

594 calories; 932 mg sodium; 654 mg cholesterol; 48 grams fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 25 grams protein; 2.84 grams fiber.

Bechamel Sauce

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Stir in flour and blend thoroughly. Gradually whisk in milk and continue to whisk over moderate heat until sauce is smooth and thickened.

Add nutmeg, salt and hot sauce. Whisk again and remove from heat. Sauce will keep about 7 days in refrigerator. Reheat in double boiler. Makes 1 cup.


Hollandaise Sauce

1/4 pound unsalted butter

2 egg yolks, at room temperature

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Dash cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon Chablis or dry vermouth


Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Do not let burn. When completely melted, remove from heat.

Put egg yolks, lemon juice, Worcestershire and cayenne pepper in top of double boiler over simmering water. Bottom of upper pan should not touch simmering water in lower pan. Whisk yolks until mixture thickens and forms sheen, about 3 minutes, no more than 5 minutes.

In slow, steady stream add butter, whisking constantly until all butter has been added. Add wine and whisk well. Sauce should be light and fluffy. Store sauce at room temperature until serving time. Makes 1 cup.


For this treat you need three elements: bread pudding, meringue and sauce. The first and last may be made in advance. You can freeze leftover bread pudding for another batch of souffles or you can serve it as is, with the Whiskey Sauce.



3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash nutmeg

1 egg plus 1 egg white, lightly beaten

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 to 5 cups cubed French bread

1/4 cup raisins

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons bourbon

8 egg whites

Mix 1 cup sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl. Beat in egg and egg white, then stir in half and half and vanilla. Add bread and raisins and stir. Pour into greased 8x8-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and wood pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool.

Whisk together cornstarch and water. In small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to boil. Add cornstarch mixture, whisking vigorously. Let mixture boil. Then remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and bourbon. Allow to cool, then refrigerate.


Butter 6 individual 1/2-cup custard cups.

In large bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. (Reserve all egg yolks for another use.) Continue to whip, adding 1/2 cup sugar gradually, until shiny and thick.

In large bowl, break half of bread pudding (reserve rest for another use) into small bits (use hands or large spoon) and gently stir in half of meringue. Then fold in half of remaining meringue, reserving rest. Spoon mixture into 6 (1/2-cup) buttered custard cups. Top each with swirl of remaining meringue. Bake at 350 degrees in water bath until tops are golden, about 20 minutes.

To serve, warm whiskey sauce in double boiler. Poke down tops of souffles and spoon in bit of sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

536 calories; 381 mg sodium; 79 mg cholesterol; 14 grams fat; 89 grams carbohydrates; 12 grams protein; 0.18 gram fiber.