A photo frame made from popsicle sticks might have cut it when you were in kindergarten, but you'll probably want to step it up a bit this year. Why not get creative in the kitchen and whip her up a lovely brunch meal? I've got just the dish for you: poached eggs on ciabatta bread with pancetta, arugula and a zesty Spanish Romesco sauce — it's elegant, easy to prepare and ever so delicious.
Save yourself the hour-plus wait for a table at brunch this weekend and make this classy meal for mom instead. Just be warned: She'll be so impressed with your culinary prowess that she may expect a homemade gourmet gift like this every year.
Romesco sauce (see below)
4 poached eggs (see below)
Arugula salad (see below)
4 slices pancetta
4 slices ciabatta bread
1/2 cup chopped, slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup fire roasted tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar, or to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, or more if needed
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a blender or food processor, combine the toasted almonds, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, sherry vinegar and olive oil. Blend until smooth; should be a creamy pesto-like consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. It's best served on the eggs at room temperature or slightly warmed.
4 large eggs (plus extra, if needed)
2 tablespoons white, or white wine, vinegar
Fill a medium saucepan with at least 3 inches of water. Add the vinegar, and heat pan over medium-high heat. The water should come to a very light boil. Bubbles should start to emerge from the bottom of the pan, but it shouldn't bubble furiously. Ideal poaching temperature is between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meanwhile, using a small fine mesh strainer, strain each egg separately so that the excess water in the whites is strained out (this will result in tighter whites, less "ghosting" effect when the whites hit the simmering water). Each strained egg should be placed by itself in a small cup or container.
Get a slotted spoon and, when the water is ready, gently stir it to create a gentle whirlpool. Working with one egg at a time, tip them into the simmering water and cradle them with the slotted spoon to help the whites form around the yolk. (It might also be best to cook each egg one at a time as to not overwhelm yourself, especially if this is your first time poaching.) Gently stir the water as the eggs poach so they they don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Poach until whites are firm and the yolk is slightly cooked, but still a little jiggly — about 2-3 minutes. For firmer yolks, cook another 30 seconds to a minute. Carefully lift and drain the eggs, placing them on paper towels to drain excess water. (The poached eggs can also be dropped into ice water and refrigerated up to 3 days and reheated in warm water.)
3 cups arugula lettuce
Olive oil, as needed
Juice of 1/2 lemon
A pinch of salt and pepper each
In a medium bowl, toss arugula with a little drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Bake pancetta in a 375-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until crispy. Toast ciabatta in a toaster or on a grill pan.
Place a piece of toasted ciabatta on each plate. Top with a small handful of dressed arugula salad and a slice of crispy pancetta, then carefully place a poached egg on top of the pancetta. Spoon some of the Romesco sauce on top of each poached egg and serve immediately.