These Dreamy Wild Mushroom Toasts Are Perfect for Brunch
Picture your ideal weekend breakfast. Is it a full English? Pancakes? Chilaquiles? In this week's installment of Chefs at Home, Michael Reed—executive chef and co-owner of Poppy + Rose in Los Angeles and Poppy & Seed in Anaheim, CA—offers three formidable contenders in his "favorite comforting brunch dishes," including wild mushroom toasts that are loaded with homemade (and hot sauce-spiked) hollandaise, cheesy eggs, and a mix of wild mushrooms and spinach. Shrimp with Cheddar-Parmesan Grits are also on the menu, as are flaky (emphasis on flaky) Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. By the end of all three episodes, you'll be hard-pressed to pick which one to make first.
Read on for Reed's methods and follow along with the videos below.
Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
Reed kicks things off with biscuits and sausage gravy. Regarding the gravy, he says, "On a gloomy day, it makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside." The biscuits are up first, and the key here is cutting very cold unsalted butter into thin slices and taking care not to crumble them as you're mixing the dough together. The layers of butter result in a biscuit that's more like a croissant, Reed notes, and you'll see those layers as you cut the biscuits out. Once cut, he gets them onto a baking sheet, tops them with melted butter, and puts them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
After the biscuits have gone in the fridge, he bakes them for eight minutes in a 400°F oven, rotates the baking sheet, and then bakes for another eight minutes. They should come out light brown on top and incredibly flaky. He makes the sausage gravy on the stovetop while they bake, using pork sausage (feel free to use chicken or turkey sausage instead), yellow onion, garlic powder, and more. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot as it cooks so the flour doesn't burn.
Once done, split a biscuit in half on a plate, top each half with the gravy, and add sunny-side up fried eggs for the complete breakfast experience. A sprinkle of chives is the finishing touch.
Shrimp with Cheddar-Parmesan Grits
Next, Reed prepares shrimp and grits, a dish he says he loves to make for his wife. He begins by peeling and deveining the shrimp (save those shells for the stock!) and mixing the shrimp with smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and olive oil, giving them time to marinate covered in the fridge. Meanwhile, he gets going on the stock, combining the shells with yellow onion, leek, celery, carrot, fennel, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and coriander seeds, adding them to a pot with olive oil and unsalted butter. White wine, water, and tomato paste go in too, and after coming to a boil, it simmers for 45 minutes to an hour. Don't forget to strain it once done.
The cheesy grits also come together on the stovetop, composed of whole milk, chicken stock, kosher salt, unsalted butter, coarsely ground white grits, and of course, the two cheeses—aged white cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The cheese and butter go in at the very end, when Reed turns off the burner and allows the residual heat to melt them into the grits.
Next, he sautés the shrimp with shallots, celery, pimento peppers, and more. Once those are done, the grits are cooked, and the stock is ready, it's time to plate the grits. Ladle them into a bowl first, and then add a generous serving of shrimp and vegetables, taking care to drizzle some of the pan sauce on as well. Spoon some of the shellfish stock on next, and then garnish the finished dish with scallions, celery leaves, and parsley.
Wild Mushroom Toasts
Last up is one of Reed's favorite breakfast dishes, the Wild Mushroom Toasts. He begins by roasting the mushrooms—Reed uses maitake, morel, and trumpet in the video, but feel free to use what's available to you at your local store. Meanwhile, he whips up a quick hollandaise sauce using a makeshift double boiler, adding a splash of water to help avoid scrambling. (Don't forget to add that hot sauce for an extra kick of flavor.)
After that, he quickly toasts the sourdough slices in butter on the stovetop and then sautés the mushrooms with the spinach and a few other ingredients, including white soy sauce and white wine. The final step is to make the cheesy scrambled eggs.
To build the toasts, spread the hollandaise on the sourdough, and then pile on the mushroom-spinach mixture. The smoked gouda scrambled eggs go on next, and with a sprinkle of fresh chives to finish it off, you're all set to eat.
Stay tuned for our next episode of Chefs at Home featuring Bronwen Wyatt.