6 Chef-Approved Brunch Recipes for When You'd Rather Be on the Mediterranean

Updated 07/13/18

We'll never stop loving eggs benedict, and banana pancakes, but when it comes to brunching in the summer, we sometimes crave something a little more international—something to make us feel like we're sitting seaside in Sicily or noshing on Spanish tapas in San Sebastian. Though Europeans typically don't "brunch" as much as Americans do, they have perfected the art of the light summer lunch, making recipes that are as easy as they are delicious and morning-appropriate. 

To take our brunch endeavors to the next level, we asked two NYC-based chefs, Giorgia Zedda of Epistrophy, a Sardinian-inspired café, and Marc Vidal from Boqueria, a Spanish tapas restaurant, to share their favorite weekend brunch recipe ideas. Get ready for carb-loaded, fresh, flavorful goodness. These European-inspired brunch recipes are as good as they are simple.

Pan con Tomate

Brunch Recipe Ideas
Courtesy of Boqueria

Servings: As many as you like

Ingredients:

Crusty country bread sliced 1⁄2-inch thick
Kosher salt extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 heirloom tomato, ripe

Crusty country bread sliced 1⁄2-inch thick
Kosher salt extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 heirloom tomato, ripe

Directions:

Preheat the broiler and position a rack six inches below the heating element.

Lightly sprinkle both sides of the bread with salt and drizzle with the oil. Toast the bread on one side until browned and then flip and toast the other side just until crisp. Watch it carefully; broilers vary greatly in strength, and some can burn bread fast.

Gently rub garlic over the toast. Cut a ripe tomato in half, seed it if it’s watery, and rub the cut sides into the bread, getting the pulp well into any nooks of the toast. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cut into pieces if you like and serve immediately.

Melón con jamón

Easy Brunch Recipe Ideas
Courtesy of Boqueria

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 ripe cantaloupe (about 14 ounces) cut in 8 wedges and seeded
2 oz. very thinly sliced Jamón Ibérico
1⁄2 lemon
1 cup packed torn frisée
2 tbsp. fresh mint leaves, torn
2 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, torn
Extra-virgin olive oil: a generous drizzle
Fleur de sel
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 ripe cantaloupe (about 14 ounces) cut in 8 wedges and seeded
2 oz. very thinly sliced Jamón Ibérico
1⁄2 lemon
1 cup packed torn frisée
2 tbsp. fresh mint leaves, torn
2 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, torn
Extra-virgin olive oil: a generous drizzle
Fleur de sel
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Peel the rind off the melon wedges, then slice each wedge lengthwise in half. Arrange four slices on each of the serving plates and drape the jamón all over the melon.

Remove the zest from the half lemon and reserve it; then squeeze out the juice. Toss the frisée, mint, and basil with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mound this on top of the jamón and melon. Drizzle with plenty of oil, grind lots of pepper on top and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Sprinkle the reserved lemon zest on top. Serve immediately.

Chef’s tip: Never put a melon in the fridge. Its sweetness and complexity diminish in the cold. If you bought it ripe, use it right away. Otherwise, let it sit at room temperature until you can smell its honeyed scent.

Zucchini Toast

Simple Brunch Recipe Ideas
Courtesy of Epistrophy

Servings: 1-2

Ingredients:

Two 3/4-inch slices of sourdough bread
2 oz. fresh goat cheese
1 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow summer squash
Spicy honey (you can make your own, or buy a jar already made—we like Mike's Hot Honey)
Several fillets of anchovy
Shaved pecorino
1 tbsp. of crushed toasted almonds

Two 3/4-inch slices of sourdough bread
2 oz. fresh goat cheese
1 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow summer squash
Spicy honey (you can make your own, or buy a jar already made—we like Mike's Hot Honey)
Several fillets of anchovy
Shaved pecorino
1 tbsp. of crushed toasted almonds

Directions:

With a mandolin, or very carefully with a sharp knife, slice the yellow squash into thin rounds, and set aside.

Mix the goat cheese and mascarpone cheese together. You can do it by hand, but an electric hand or stand mixer will give you a smoother, whipped consistency.

Cut the green zucchini into small cubes, sautéing in a pan with olive oil. As the zucchini cooks, add in several anchovy fillets to the pan, letting them melt down in the olive oil. If you don't want to use anchovies, you can just season with some salt and pepper. You want the zucchini to soften, but still be firm.

Toast your sourdough as the zucchini continues to cook.

Spread the toast slices evenly with the cheese blend. Layer the cooked zucchini on top, then the raw sliced yellow zucchini, sprinkling the toasted almonds after. As a final touch, drizzle the spicy honey and shave as much pecorino and/or fresh black pepper over the whole thing as you would like.

Crudo de Lenguado con Pipirrana

European Brunch Recipe Ideas
Courtesy of Boqueria

Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients for the crudo:

Kosher salt, 1 pound (2 1/2 cups)
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 lime, zest and juice
1 tbsp. juniper berries
1 (10-ounce) skinless fluke fillet or 2 Spanish mackerel fillets
1⁄2 cup Pipirrana Vinaigrette (recipe follows), plus more to taste
1 tablespoon tarragon leaves

Kosher salt, 1 pound (2 1/2 cups)
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 lime, zest and juice
1 tbsp. juniper berries
1 (10-ounce) skinless fluke fillet or 2 Spanish mackerel fillets
1⁄2 cup Pipirrana Vinaigrette (recipe follows), plus more to taste
1 tablespoon tarragon leaves

Directions for the crudo:

Refrigerate serving plates until cold.

Mix the salt, lemon and lime zest and juice, and juniper berries in a small bowl. Spread half in a shallow dish, place the fillet(s) on top, and pat the remaining salt mixture all over the fish to cover completely. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Remove the fish from the salt mixture, rinse under cold water, and pat dry. Cut the fish into 1/3-inch-thick slices at an angle, starting at the tail and angling the knife toward the other end of the fillet.

Place the slices on the chilled serving plates. Spoon the vinaigrette over the fish, then top with the tarragon leaves. Serve immediately.

Ingredients for the Pipirrana vinaigrette:

2 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeds and ribs removed, and finely diced
1 cubanelle pepper, stemmed, seeds and ribs removed, and finely diced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
Kosher salt

Directions for the Pipirrana vinaigrette:

Stir the tomatoes, pepper, and onion in a bowl to mix. Stir in the olive oil and lemon juice and season to taste with salt.

Chef’s tip: We use cubanelles instead of regular green bell peppers since they’re less watery and more flavorful. They’re readily available in many supermarkets.

Pane Carasau

Summer Brunch Recipe Ideas
Courtesy of Epistrophy

Servings: 1 to 2

Ingredients:

2 eggs
3 sheets Sardinian flatbread (pane carasau)
1/2 cup aged pecorino cheese
2 cups of Mutton stock (brodo di pecora—can substitute beef or vegetable broth)
2 cups tomato sauce

2 eggs
3 sheets Sardinian flatbread (pane carasau)
1/2 cup aged pecorino cheese
2 cups of Mutton stock (brodo di pecora—can substitute beef or vegetable broth)
2 cups tomato sauce

Directions:

Separately, heat both the broth and tomato sauce on the stove, just to a low simmer.

Set the first sheet of pane carasau on a plate, pour 1/2 cup of the broth over it and soak the bread for one minute then pour the tomato sauce over it and spread it out. Add grated pecorino cheese.

Take the second sheet of bread and soak it for a minute in the broth. Put it on the first sheet and add tomatoes sauce and pecorino cheese, do the same with the third sheet of pane carasau.

Break two eggs in hot water and carefully, using a small spoon, fold the white over the egg yolk, and simmer for simmer minutes. Using a spoon transfer the poached egg onto the bread and tomato sauce.

Pour extra virgin olive oil onto the bread and eggs, and serve warm.

Avocado and Watermelon Radish Toast

Brunch Recipes
Courtesy of Epistrophy

Servings: 1 to 2

Ingredients:

Two 3/4" slices of seven-grain bread
1 avocado
1 watermelon radish
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Two 3/4" slices of seven-grain bread
1 avocado
1 watermelon radish
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Toast a slice of seven-grain bread. 

Slice the avocado in half, remove the pit, and put it in a bowl. Mash it up with a fork, add extra virgin olive oil, and salt and black pepper to taste.

Spread the avocado on the seven-grain toast.

Shave the watermelon radish with a mandolin, or very carefully with a sharp knife, and add it on top of the avo toast. Add a pinch of salt.

Next up: These seven Italian recipes taste like a European vacation.

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