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Ask A Detroit Chef: Best Mother's Day Brunch Recipes

Chef James Rigato
(Courtesy of James Rigato)

Mother's Day will be here soon, and you've decided to make your mom or wife some delicious brunch delicacies. But what to make? Read below for some ideas from a local chef.

Chef James Rigato
The Root Restaurant & Bar
340 Town Center Blvd.
White Lake, MI 48386
(248) 698-2400

Michigan-native James Rigato is a graduate of Schoolcraft College, where he enrolled in the culinary program at age 17. His first culinary influences were his grandfather and great-grandmother, and he was exposed to Italian food and culture early in life. He has worked at Morels, Shiraz, Rugby Grille (Townsend Hotel) and Bacco Ristaurante, and at age 26, he opened The Root Restaurant & Bar with proprietor Ed Mamou. The Root Restaurant features "seasonal, sustainable cuisine with a menu that honors the artisans and farmers behind it." James lives in White Lake with his wife and enjoys exploring, cycling, kayaking, camping and, of course, eating.

Three Potato Hash with Poblano, Canadian Bacon and Onion Topped with Poached Farm Eggs and Whole Grain Mustard Aioli

Notes: You can go pork free if desired. Also, fried eggs work just fine. We make our own Canadian Bacon at The Root, which is basically brined, smoked pork loin. When choosing meat, dairy, eggs and produce, it is best to request/demand local. Knowing where your food comes from is invaluable.


  • 1.5 lbs yukon gold potatoes, rinsed
  • 1.5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1.5 lbs russet potatoes, rinsed in hot water and scrubbed aggressively
  • 2 medium-size poblano peppers
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 12 oz. Canadian bacon or ham, diced same size as potatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • 3/4 cup very nice olive oil, preferably Spanish
  • 2 heaping Tbsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Clean potatoes, peel the sweet potatoes and dice into no bigger than half-inch cubes. Put in a large bowl.
  2. Clean the poblanos and remove seeds. Dice into small, close to tiny squares. Dice onion very finely.
  3. Mince garlic cloves. Add everything to the bowl of potatoes. Pick thyme off the sprig and lightly chop. Add to potatoes.
  4. Add olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss together.
  5. Add more oil if it appears dry. Add more salt or pepper if necessary. Don't be afraid to taste raw potato for seasoning adjustment.
  6. Dice your Canadian Bacon or Ham the same size as the potatoes and set aside.
  7. Roast the seasoned potato mixture in a 400 degree F oven in a pyrex or on a clean cookie sheet, preferably with a convection fan for about 30 minutes until the largest potato dice is fully cooked.
  8. Pull out of oven. Let cool slightly at room temperature. Meanwhile, make your whole grain mustard aioli (recipe below).

Whole Grain Mustard Aioli

  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, roasted
  • 3/4 cup blended oil
  • Dash of Tabasco
  • Salt to taste


  1. Roast a head of garlic by cutting off the tapered papery end and drizzle it with olive oil, wrapping it in foil and baking for an hour or so at 350 degrees F.
  2. Let cool. Add everything except the oil to a food processor. Begin to puree. Slowly drizzle in oil.
  3. When finished, season to taste. Scrape into small dish. Set aside.

Combining the hash and whole grain mustard aioli:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to just below a simmer.
  2. Add a capful of white distilled vinegar. Keep just below a simmer.
  3. In a large sauté pan, caramelize the bacon or ham in 2 Tbsp of butter. Once it begins to caramelize, add the hash to the pan. Toss until fully heated and well seasoned. Feel free to add more olive oil, herbs, spinach or anything else you like.
  4. When hot, spoon onto large platter or onto individual plates.
  5. Immediately crack however many eggs you desire into the simmering salted, vinegar water. Be gentle and drop them slowly into the water. If you are careful to not drop the eggs on top of each other, they will have no problem cooking side by side.
  6. Do not boil. In about a minute or less they should float. If they don't, gently nudge them with a long slotted spoon. If you prefer runny yolks, pull them at about a minute once they float.
  7. Place eggs on top of hash. Scoop a dollop of the whole grain mustard aioli on top of the egg or to the side of it or serve it on the side. Fresh-cut chives or parsley make a lovely garnish.

Related: Best Ways To Spend Mother's Day In Detroit

Espresso Bean and Almond Macaroons

  • 7 oz. almond paste
  • 2.5 oz. powdered sugar
  • 2.5 oz. granulated sugar
  • 1 oz. pastry flour
  • 1.5 oz. egg white
  • 20 or so espresso beans


  1. Add all ingredients except espresso beans to a KitchenAid and mix with a paddle on medium speed until fully incorporated.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or wax paper. Roll into ping pong-sized balls. Place on paper. Lightly press down. Place one espresso bean per cookie in the center.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees, no fan, for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Do not let these cookies brown. You are looking for a light tanning around the edges and that is it. They overcook easily. Let cool. Serve with French pressed coffee.


  • 2 oz. fresh-squeezed blood orange juice
  • 1 oz. Lillet blanc
  • Dash of orange bitters
  • M. Lawrence Detroit Sparkling Wine


  1. This drink is best served ice cold in a champagne flute.
  2. Freeze your champagne flute ahead of time. If you own a martini shaker, you can shake the juice, Lillet blanc and bitters with ice and strain into chilled flute. If not, make sure everything is refrigerated before mixing.
  3. Once the juice, Lillet blanc and bitters are in the flute, top off with M. Lawrence "Detroit" Sparkling wine or another slightly sweet sparkling wine/champagne. Enjoy.

Related: Best Mother's Day Gifts In Detroit Metro

Liz Parker is a freelance writer and a University of Michigan graduate with a degree in Creative Writing and Literature. Her work can be found at

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