SOURCE: Legends from Europe

November 15, 2012 05:00 ET

Holiday Brunch

What a Spread!

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Nov 15, 2012) - (Family Features) A holiday celebration at home should be as much fun for the hosts as for friends and family. With a little advance planning, the goal of effortless entertaining is suddenly within reach.

First, make it brunch, typically lighter and simpler to prepare than dinner. Buffet style is another smart choice -- just arrange the dishes on pretty holiday linens and invite guests to serve themselves.

Half of the work is done when you go with full-flavored imported Italian cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano and Montasio, and air-cured hams like Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele. As PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) products, they belong to a special group of high-quality European foods that can be made only in specific geographical regions.

Four dishes that add up to a no-stress brunch buffet:

  • A frittata with the deeply savory flavors of Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. It's equally delicious warm or at room temperature, whichever is more convenient.
  • Thumbprint biscuits featuring melted Montasio cheese in the indentations on top -- a clever touch for biscuits made with ready-made dough.
  • Another brilliant two-ingredient recipe consists of eggs baked in Prosciutto di San Daniele "cups." They are crisp, creamy and irresistible.
  • Festive garnishes for a salad of deep green kale leaves, tossed with orange vinaigrette, include Grana Padano shards, pears and pine nuts.

For more information on the PDO system and holiday recipes using these legendary cheeses and hams, visit

Think About Drinks
One way to keep it simple is to settle on a house drink for your brunch buffet, such as a Poinsettia Cocktail made with one part cranberry juice and one part Grand Marnier to four parts prosecco. For the nonalcoholic version, combine the juice with sparkling water or lemon-lime soda.

Eggs Baked in Prosciutto di San Daniele Cups  
Yield: 12 portions  
  12 slices Prosciutto
    di San Daniele
  12 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Fold one slice of Prosciutto di San Daniele in half crosswise to make a rectangle. Fit into a muffin cup.

Crack egg into lined cup. Repeat with remaining ham and eggs.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes to desired doneness.

 Kale Salad with Grana Padano and Citrus Dressing 
 Yield: 5 cups  
  1/2 pound kale
  1 large Anjou or Bartlett
    pear, sliced
  1/2 cup Grana Padano
  1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced
    almonds, toasted
  2 tablespoons orange juice
  2 tablespoons white wine
    or balsamic vinegar
  2 tablespoons olive oil
  1/4 teaspoon salt
  1/4 teaspoon ground black

Remove ribs from kale and cut into 1-inch ribbons; place in a large salad bowl. Add pear, cheese and nuts.

Whisk together orange juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss.

Montasio Cheese Thumbprint Biscuits  
Yield: 8 biscuits   
  1 package store bought
    ready-made biscuit dough
  1 cup coarsely grated
    Montasio cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Separate biscuits onto a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet. With your thumb, press into center of each biscuit to form a small well. Fill each well with 2 tablespoons of the grated Montasio. Bake until tops are golden, about 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano Frittata   
Yield: 4 to 6 portions  
  8 large eggs
  1/2 cup whole milk
  1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  3 ounces thinly sliced
    Prosciutto di Parma,
    torn into 1-inch pieces
  6 scallions, thinly sliced
  1/2 cup (2 ounces) coarsely
    grated Parmigiano
  1 tablespoon extra virgin
    olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk with an electric beater until frothy; add pepper. Stir in the Prosciutto di Parma, scallions and cheese. Heat oil in an 8-inch oven proof skillet; add egg mixture and cook over medium heat until edges are set, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place in oven and bake until firm, 15 to 20 minutes.

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