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Pack a Lox Brunch

August 17, 1995|DONNA DEANE | TIMES TEST KITCHEN DIRECTOR

When someone mentions brunch to me, I think lox. But there's more to smoked salmon than bagels and cream cheese. Often, I like to build a weekend meal around this Smoked Lox and Cucumber Salad. As with most potato salads, the flavor is better when it is prepared ahead and allowed to chill for several hours or overnight.

The soft-boiled eggs atop the olive bruschetta are laced with a thyme hollandaise sauce and make a lovely brunch presentation.

Many people find poached eggs a little tricky to fix during the busy last minutes when they're cooking for a crowd. To ease this problem, we decided to soft-boil the eggs in boiling salted water, three to five minutes, then peel them. Three minutes is sufficient cooking time if you'll be holding the eggs 15 minutes or so in warm water while you finish the meal--the eggs continue to cook while standing. Otherwise, five minutes should be perfect for the egg white to be completely set and the yolk warm and creamy.

Menu

Soft-Boiled Eggs on Olive Bruschetta with Thyme Hollandaise

Smoked Lox and Cucumber Potato Salad

Avocado and Cantaloupe Salad

STAPLES

Dijon-style mustard

Capers

Mayonnaise

Salt

Black peppercorns

Olive oil

White pepper

Butter

Paprika

SHOPPING LIST

4 pounds red boiling potatoes

2 cucumbers

1 bunch celery

1 bunch green onions

2 (3-ounce) packages smoked salmon

2 lemons

1 avocado

1/2 cantaloupe

1/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese

1 pint strawberries

1 1/2 dozen eggs

1 bunch thyme

1 loaf French bread

1/4 pound kalamata olives

Game Plan

Night before brunch: Prepare potato salad. Cover and chill.

1 hour before brunch: Prepare avocado and cantaloupe salad. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

45 minutes before brunch: Prepare olive bruschetta. Make thyme hollandaise sauce; keep warm.

20 minutes before brunch: Cook eggs, peel and let stand in warm water.

Last minute: Arrange bruschetta on plates; top with eggs. Top with thyme hollandaise and garnish. Serve along with potato salad and avocado salad.

LOX AND CUCUMBER POTATO SALAD

4 pounds red boiling potatoes, cooked until tender, drained

2 cucumbers, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch slices

1 cup sliced celery

1 cup chopped green onion

4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

2 (3-ounce) packages smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup large capers, chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

Salt

Crushed black peppercorns

2 tablespoons olive oil

Cool potatoes then cut into cubes. Toss together potatoes, cucumbers, celery, green onion, eggs and smoked salmon in bowl. Combine mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Pour dressing over potatoes and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and peppercorns. Drizzle with olive oil and toss. Cover and chill until serving time.

Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains about:

465 calories; 1,62 mg sodium; 123 mg cholesterol; 22 grams fat; 56 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams protein; 1.67 grams fiber.

AVOCADO AND CANTALOUPE SALAD

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cantaloupe, peeled and cut into slices

1/4 pound thin-sliced Monterey Jack cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Freshly ground black pepper

Whole strawberries

Arrange avocado, cantaloupe slices and cheese on serving dish. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cover and let stand until serving time. Garnish with whole strawberries.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

267 calories; 163 mg sodium; 25 mg cholesterol; 23 grams fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 1.15 grams fiber.

SOFT-BOILED EGGS ON OLIVE BRUSCHETTA WITH HOLLANDAISE

8 eggs

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3 egg yolks

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Pinch white pepper

1/2 cup butter, melted and kept warm

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

8 (1/2-inch thick) slices French bread, toasted

1/4 cup minced kalamata olives

Paprika

Slivers of kalamata olives for garnish

Put eggs and 1 teaspoon salt in cold water to cover. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 3 minutes. Drain eggs, run under cold water, then peel. Keep in bowl of warm water until ready to serve.

For hollandaise sauce, combine egg yolks, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste in blender and blend until smooth. Gradually pour in butter in thin stream, blending until thickened. Stir in thyme.

Spread minced olives on toast. To serve, top olive bruschetta with 1 egg. Spoon hollandaise over top. Sprinkle with paprika to taste and garnish with olive slivers.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

624 calories; 1,699 mg sodium; 693 mg cholesterol; 41 grams fat; 41 grams carbohydrates; 21 grams protein; 0.38 gram fiber.

* Note: Although many recipes call for uncooked eggs, the USDA has found them to be a potential carrier of food-borne illness and recommends that diners avoid eating raw eggs.

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