Easy, Yummy Holiday Brunch from Thomas Keller

Chef Thomas Keller's holiday brunch of poached eggs, buttermilk biscuits and scallion potato cakes CBS

Widely considered one of the best American-born chefs, Thomas Keller, owner and executive chef of French Laundry in California's Napa Valley and Per Se in Manhattan, certainly knows how to whip up one fabulous holiday brunch.

This holiday season, Keller is releasing two of his best and most recognized cookbooks, "The French Laundry" and "Ad Hoc at Home," as a boxed gift set called "The Essential Thomas Keller."

On "The Early Show," Keller prepared a very easy, today to whip up a very easy and delicious holiday brunch. All of the recipes come from "Ad Hoc at Home."

"Early Show" Recipes Galore!

RECIPES

POACHED EGGS


2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
6 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To poach the eggs, bring 6 to 8 inches of water to a boil in a large deep saucepan. Prepare an ice bath. Add the vinegar to the boiling water and reduce the heat to a simmer. Crack 1 egg into a small cup or ramekin. Using a wooden spoon, stir the water at the edges of the pan twice in a circular motion to get the water moving, then add the egg to the center of the pan and simmer gently for 1 1/2 minutes, or until the white is set but the yolk is still runny. With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the egg to the ice bath. Skim and discard any foam that has risen to the top of the water, and cook the remaining eggs one at a time. (The eggs can be poached several hours ahead and stored in ice water in the refrigerator. Place in warm water before serving)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a simmer. With a small pair of scissors, trim any uneven edges from the poached eggs. Lower the eggs into the simmering water for about 30 seconds, just to reheat. Remove the eggs with a skimmer or slotted spoon and blot the bottoms with paper towels. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and serve.

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups cake flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
11/2 cups buttermilk, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for brushing
2 to 3 tablespoons (1 to 1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

These biscuits bake up light and fluffy. It's important not to overwork the dough, which would make the biscuits tough. To that end, we pulse the butter and dry ingredients together in a food processor, then turn them out into a bowl and gradually work in the liquids by hand. You can serve them with some good butter and raspberry jam, and perhaps a sprinkle of fleur de sel, but they're so good you might want to eat them as is, straight out of the oven. We serve these with fried chicken, but they make a good brunch accompaniment and also work as a strawberry shortcake biscuit for dessert.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Add the chilled butter and pulse several times, until the pieces of butter are no bigger than small peas. Do not overprocess; the dough should not come together.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the buttermilk. Stir and lift the mixture with a sturdy spoon, gently working the flour into the buttermilk. The dough should begin to come together but not form a solid mass, or the biscuits may be tough.

Dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cutter, cut out the biscuits. (If the cutter sticks to the dough, dip the cutter in flour before cutting.) Place the biscuits on the baking sheet. The dough trimmings can be gently pushed together, patted out, and cut one more time; do not overwork the dough.

Brush the tops of the biscuits lightly with buttermilk. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until a rich golden brown. As soon as you remove the biscuits from the oven, brush the tops with melted butter. Serve warm.

MAKES 12 BISCUITS

For the rest of Keller's recipes for this brunch, go to Page 2.

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