Chefs' Favorite Breakfast Recipes
Shakshuka with Fennel and Feta
"When I was 18 years old, I spent the summer in Israel, working on a beautiful kibbutz," Gail Simmons recalls. "My first job there was in the chicken house, gathering eggs. I was then transferred to the kitchen, where I was charged with making eggs every morning for hundreds of hungry fellow workers. I developed an ardent affection for humble egg dishes like shakshuka, often known in Italy as Eggs in Purgatory. It’s a popular dish throughout the Middle East and perfect for any meal of the day."
Soy Milk-Arborio Rice Pudding with Poached Figs
The arborio rice in Joe Bastianich's lightly sweet pudding provides complex carbohydrates for energy. Since the pudding keeps well in the refrigerator, Bastianich makes it in big batches, then reheats portions for quick breakfasts.
Boxer's Beet Juice with Horseradish
Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake and Orson in San Francisco loves having juice in the morning, because she feels it helps her "detox so she can retox." This intense savory juice gets a bracing pungency from freshly grated horseradish.
Three-Grain Cereal with Dates and Cinnamon
Chef Quinn Hatfield cooks big batches of pearled barley and quinoa to keep in his refrigerator for this hot cereal, which comes together in minutes. He also uses the grains in salads. The mixture of cinnamon and chopped dates makes this breakfast nicely sweet—no extra sugar needed.
Elisabeth Prueitt always mixes ground flax into her pancake batter. “I’ve never felt great about the low nutritional value of pancakes—it’s like eating cake for breakfast—but the flax adds fiber, omega-3s and minerals,” she says.
Mom's Nutty Granola
This granola recipe from Jessamyn Waldman's mother is more nutty than sweet. Says Waldman, "I love it because I'm not a sweet breakfast person myself."
Strawberry, Banana and Almond Butter Smoothie
Chef Nate Appleman lost lots of weight by running. After a morning workout, he often makes this smoothie, which gets a dose of protein from almond butter.
Oversize Breakfast Biscuits
"Saturday mornings at the deli are all about the biscuits," says Matt Neal. "Our friends, the farmers, everyone is always clamoring for them. Some people get two filled biscuits at a time, but that's a lot." When he's rolling out the dough, he gives it two turns to evenly distribute the butter and make the biscuits extra-flaky. Then he serves them with different fillings: house-made spiced pastrami (mustard is optional); cheddar and a breakfast-sausage patty; or classic strawberry jam.
Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Soy Milk
Art Smith of Washington, DC's Art and Soul restaurant says that eating breakfast speeds up his metabolism and also fuels his intense workouts. He swears by steel-cut oatmeal, which has an appealing chewy texture.
Poached Eggs with Parmesan and Smoked Salmon Toasts
Dipping a crispy toast finger (the French call it a mouillette) in a soft egg yolk has to be one of life's great pleasures. "When I was a kid, I loved it," says Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Evidently, he's still fond of it because he has created an adult version that's elegant enough to serve as a first course at a dinner party: He wraps smoked salmon around half of the toasts and sprinkles the rest with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, so it melts and forms a salty crust when baked.
When Michael Mina was a boy, his parents used to take him to the now-defunct Four Seasons hotel in Seattle for Christmas brunch, where he always ordered waffles. "They were dynamite," he recalls. This recipe is as close to the one of his childhood as he could get it. Cornmeal makes the waffles crispy; ricotta keeps them moist.