Brunch Is Back: Tips from Amy Tobin

Cooking and entertaining guru Amy Tobin tells us how to take basic brunch to a new level.
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“Brunch is about being decadent and lingering,” Tobin explains. “It’s all about the slower pace and the ability to take the time to enjoy something well-crafted.”
“Brunch is about being decadent and lingering,” Tobin explains. “It’s all about the slower pace and the ability to take the time to enjoy something well-crafted.”

Photograph by Annette Navarro

Start with Drinks
A Bloody Mary is always a good option. For something sparkling, prosecco and Popsicles make a splash (head to Streetpops if you’re feeling fancy).

Let Guests Linger
Set out a cheese plate with dried fruits, nuts, and honey. Grazing options give your guests a chance to experiment—and give you a chance to make any last-minute preparations.

Get Eggy + Veggie
Once everyone has arrived and mingled for a bit, it’s time to head to the table to eat. Tobin always likes to include eggs and a vegetable to start. “Asparagus always works,” she advises. “Roast it short, chill it, then serve it room temp the next day drizzled with balsamic.” For an egg dish, try a roulade with cheese spread and vegetables, baked eggs in a ramekin, or frittatas. “Go for things that are forgiving at room temperature,” Tobin recommends. “Pretty much everything you do has to be something you can make ahead and heat up.”

Meaty Mains
Meat is a great focus item. “People are looking for bacon or sausage,” notes Tobin. “For a special treat, what if you cured your own bacon and sent your guests home with a bit?” She also recommends some kind of fish: a smoked salmon pizza or flaky, smoked trout. “Just a little,” she says. “You’re not looking to feed an army. Just enough to make sure everyone feels like they could indulge.

Sweet Things
Try a muffin, scone, or quick bread with a homemade flavored butter, such as softened butter with whiskey and orange.

Caffeinate!
Tobin recommends ending brunch with good, strong coffee, real cream, and a selection of sugars. If you have tea, provide plenty of flavor options, plus lemon and honey. However you define your perfect brunch, Tobin insists that what really makes any type of entertaining special is the time spent with friends and family. “It’s not just brunch. It’s an adventure.”

Amy Tobin is the Creative and Culinary Director of the Event Center at New Riff Distillery and hosts the radio show Amy’s Table on Q102. You can find Tobin’s favorite brunch recipes and tips for the table on our Forkopolis blog.

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