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Sunday brunch isn’t as ubiquitous as it once was. Bubbly mimosas aren’t shepherded from table to table, poached eggs aren’t carved into to let that sunny-yellow yolk run, and afternoon hangovers aren’t warded with aspirin and a 2-hour nap. 

Related Reading: 9 Healthy Brunch Recipes to Brighten Your Morning

But that beloved experience can all be replayed at home (hangover too, if you’d like) thanks to the cookbook, “Let’s Brunch: 100 Recipes for the Best Meal of the Week,” by Belinda Smith-Sullivan. Belinda, who’s a chef, food writer, and entrepreneur, has fused all of her favorite brunch recipes (100 total!) into one book, replete with a little Southern flavor and hospitality.

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Here, Belinda offers both sweet and savory recipes for the famed weekend meal, which, let’s face it, certainly doesn’t have to be relegated to a Saturday or Sunday anymore. Armed with this book, brunch can be celebrated on any day of the week. Belinda divides the book into nine sections—from breads & toppings to egg dishes and cocktails—allowing you to pick from a host of sweet and savory recipes, as well as small plates and desserts, on any day you please.

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You could roll out flaky biscuits peppered with ramps, or spend the morning eating breakfast macaroni and cheese stuffed with bacon and peppers. There are the more untraditional options that are still equally brunch-worthy as well, like lemon-garlic baked cod and sweet potato medallions with currants and pecans—perfect for the diner who isn’t looking for something so sweet in the morning.

Below you’ll find Belinda’s recipe for a croque madame, a classic French dish that pairs bread (in this case, brioche) with slices of ham, cheese, mustard, and a fried egg. It boasts all the essential ingredients of brunch—bread, eggs, meat, and cheese—and the only thing missing would be a flute of that aforementioned mimosa. Luckily, “Let’s Brunch” has a recipe for that, too.


Croque Madame Recipe

A croque madame is a hot ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg. Without the egg, it is referred to as croque monsieur. Both of these sandwiches are served warm, dripping with a Gruyère cheese sauce. This sandwich is the perfect choice for a light brunch.

Croque Madame

Makes: 4 sandwiches
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • White pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 1 ⁄ 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
  • 8 thick slices brioche
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 12 slices deli ham
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat broiler. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2–3 minutes. Gradually add milk while whisking and continue whisking until mixture starts to thicken. Reduce heat and let simmer, whisking occasionally, for 4–5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and half the cheese. Set aside and let cool slightly.
  2. Spray a baking sheet or shallow baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Spread 4 slices of brioche with mustard and top each with 3 slices of ham. Spread top of ham with some of the sauce and top with another slice of bread.
  3. In a large skillet, add remaining butter. When hot, brown 2 sandwiches on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Place sandwiches on baking sheet and repeat with remaining 2 sandwiches. Brush the top of sandwiches with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  4. Using the same skillet, wipe out and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Over medium-low heat, gently crack the eggs into the pan, without breaking the yolks. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook until whites are set and yolk is runny, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile place sandwiches under the broiler and broil for 2–3 minutes until sauce is bubbly and golden brown. Top each sandwich with an egg and serve immediately.

Header image by Susan Barnson Hayward.

Amy Schulman is an associate editor at Chowhound. She is decidedly pro-chocolate.
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