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Originally published Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 6:14 AM

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Dressing up brunch with 3 cutting-edge recipes

Eggs with gigante beans and harissa; grapefruit with olive oil and sea salt; and bread-pudding frittata


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EGGS WITH GIGANTE BEANS AND HARISSA

4 servings

A stew of harissa-tinged gigante beans is crowned with fried eggs, then showered with bits of the Spanish cured tuna called mojama.

For the sauce:

½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ medium onion, sliced

½ green bell pepper, sliced

2/3 cup harissa sauce or spread

1 cup whole canned tomatoes with juices

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt, as needed

For the eggs and beans:

3 cups cooked or canned gigante beans, or other white beans, liquid reserved

½cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

Kosher salt and black pepper

8 large eggs

½ cup crème fraîche

4 slices crusty bread, toasted

1 small bunch cilantro

Lemon juice, as needed

1 4-ounce piece mojama (salt-cured tuna) or 4 ounces sliced prosciutto

1. Make the sauce: In a large, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush lightly.

2. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Stir in onion and bell pepper; cook until vegetables are translucent but not tender, about five minutes. Stir in harissa, tomatoes (break up with a wooden spoon), vinegar, sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt and the toasted cumin. Simmer over medium heat for five minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. (Sauce can be made up to five days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.)

3. Prepare the eggs and beans: Combine beans and ¼ cup olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in a few tablespoons of reserved bean liquid. Cook gently until warmed through. Add salt to taste. If necessary, warm harissa sauce over medium heat.

4. Place a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add ¼ cup olive oil. Crack in eggs; use spatula to push the whites back into shape. Cook gently, without moving, until yolks are warm but not set, five to seven minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

5. Spread 2 tablespoons crème fraîche onto the center of four serving plates, then some warm harissa sauce. Top each with a slice of toast and drizzle with olive oil, then more harissa. Spoon beans over toast. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves, small sprigs and a light squeeze of lemon juice. Place two eggs on top of each helping of beans. Shave mojama generously over each plate or top with prosciutto, sliced into ribbons.

— Adapted by Melissa Clark, The New York Times, from Ignacio Mattos, Estela, New York

GRAPEFRUIT WITH OLIVE OIL AND SEA SALT

4 servings

A deceptively easy, fresh and visually stunning side dish for brunch.

3 Ruby Red grapefruit

Good quality extra-virgin olive oil

Flaky sea salt

1. Peel fruit, pulling and scraping off as much of the white pith as possible. Slice in rounds ½-inch thick and lay them out on a platter.

2. Drizzle grapefruit lightly with oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve.

— Adapted by Melissa Clark, The New York Times, from Danny Amend, Marco’s, Brooklyn

BREAD PUDDING FRITTATA

8 servings

This egg terrine, which crosses a frittata with creamy, savory bread pudding, is a silky and flavorful baked egg dish.

4 ounces soft white bread (Pullman, pain de mie or brioche all work well), cut into 1½-inch chunks (3½ cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil

18 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup whole milk

2½ teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon sugar

Softened butter for greasing pan

Sliced avocado, for serving

Mixed soft herbs, such as parsley, mint or tarragon, coarsely chopped, for serving

Lemon juice, for serving

Flaky sea salt, for serving

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Toss bread with oil and spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toast bread until golden and dry to touch, about 25 minutes. Cool and place in a large container with a lid.

2. Strain eggs through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl (straining gives you the smoothest texture). Whisk in milk, salt and sugar. Pour egg mixture over bread in container and cover tightly. Refrigerate overnight.

3. When ready to bake, let bread-egg mixture come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Grease an 8- or 9-inch loaf pan, preferably nonstick. Using a slotted spoon or your hands, lift bread and place into loaf pan. Pour egg mixture over it. Place pan inside a larger roasting pan.

4. Transfer to oven and fill roasting pan with enough boiling water to come ¾ up the sides of the loaf pan. Cover both pans with one large sheet of aluminum foil. Cook, gently stirring frittata every 10 to 15 minutes for even cooking, until just set, about 1 hour, 15 minutes.

5. Run a knife along the sides of the loaf pan to loosen the frittata, then unmold it and flip onto a plate to cool to room temperature. Slice into eight pieces. Top each serving with avocado and herbs. Sprinkle with lemon juice and sea salt.

— Adapted by Melissa Clark, The New York Times, from Gerardo Gonzalez, El Rey Coffee Bar and Luncheonette, New York



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