I have always loved brunch. For me it has always been the perfect time eat on a lazy weekend day when you can squeeze out an extra hour of sleep. Maybe that extra hour includes a child slowly prying your eyes open with little fingers or another cleaning your toes with something that feels kind of wet and slimy, but your eyes are (basically) closed and you are lying down so it counts.
I would prefer to eat breakfast at 11 after the coffee(s!) have done their magic, but weekdays don’t work that way in our house so brunch always feels like a special treat.
Brunch is also my preferred entertaining mode. As most our friends and family are also parents brunch makes the most sense for everyone. The kids are generally happy, full of energy, and hours away from any possible meltdowns, so that makes for happy and relaxed parents.
I’ve prepared all kinds of brunch but I always come back to the Jewish bagel brunch. Bagels are the perfect brunch base. They can go savory or sweet. They are highly customizable. Kids love them. Best of all it can all be made well in advance, besides waiting in line to buy them on Sunday morning in your town’s best bagel shop.
I love to serve bagels with a smoked salmon platter with traditional garnishes, assorted cream cheeses and whitefish salad.
To construct your smoked salmon platter start with smoked nova salmon. Quality here is key so if you can get it from a good kosher-style deli, even better.
Fan out the slices, and surround them with little piles of capers and lemon wedges.
Add thinly sliced cucumber and (if in season) sliced beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes. If you have really great tomatoes please stop what you’re doing and make this Jewish Comfort Bagel!
Add bowls of whipped salted butter, plain cream cheese and veggie cream cheese. I like to add a sweet cream cheese too, try this fig and cinnamon cream cheese with toasted almonds, recipe below.
Fig and Cinnamon Cream Cheese with Toasted Almonds
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Add your bowl of smoked whitefish salad. Again quality is key so buy it from a good kosher style deli or try my homemade version with horseradish and apples, recipe below.
Whitefish Salad with Apples and Horseradish
Round out the menu with a fruit salad and a sweet bread or pastry, think coffee cake or Danish.