When I helped edit Diane Bianco’s wonderful cookbook, “Let’s Party in Maine!” (2011), I fell in love with lots of her food, most especially the recipes in the brunch menus.

These – a Mediterranean frittata and a spinach salad sprinkled with apples, blue cheese and walnuts – are real winners, whether for a Mother’s Day brunch or lunch, or for a simple supper. Offer some crusty artisan bread, maybe an herb butter, and a fruit salad and buttery cookies for dessert.

 

MEDITERRANEAN FRITTATA

This colorful frittata has all the great flavors of the Mediterranean – eggplant, sweet peppers, black olives and feta cheese.

Servings: About six.

7 eggs

¾ cup crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

½ cup diced red pepper

½ cup diced sweet yellow pepper

1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved 

Butter a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate or an 8- by 8-inch baking dish.  

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add feta and Parmesan, basil, salt and pepper, and stir. 

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and eggplant and cook, stirring often, until eggplant is soft and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes. Scrape eggplant mixture into egg mixture, and stir gently. Transfer to a prepared dish and sprinkle with olives. (Can be made the day before and refrigerated overnight, covered with plastic wrap.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake casserole, uncovered, until eggs are completely set, about 20 minutes. Run a spatula around sides to loosen, cool for 10 minutes, and cut into squares or wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

SPINACH SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE, SLICED APPLES AND  WALNUTS

Two kinds of vinegar – sherry vinegar from Spain and French Champagne vinegar – add delicious, sophisticated flavor to the dressing for this lovely salad.

Servings: About six,

CHAMPAGNE AND SHERRY VINEGAR DRESSING:

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar (see note)

1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup canola oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

In a covered container or small bowl, combine shallot, mustard and two vinegars. Whisk in olive and canola oils. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

1 large Granny Smith apple

10 ounces baby spinach, organic if possible

¾ cup crumbled blue cheese

About 1/3 cup dressing (recipe above)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

¾ cup walnuts, lightly toasted

 Cut apples into quarters, core, cut into very thin slices, and toss with about 3 tablespoons of the dressing. (Can be prepared up to several hours ahead.)

In a large bowl, toss spinach, apple slices and blue cheese with dressing, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a large platter, sprinkle with nuts, and serve.

NOTE: If you don’t have both vinegars, use 2 tablespoons of either one.

 

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Lobster!” (Storey, 2012). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at: facebook.com/brookedojny