Brunch is an ideal setting for a casual meal shared with friends and family. Hostesses generally serve brunch in late morning or early afternoon, so there is no pressure to start meal preparation at dawn, and everybody can sleep in. With this no-cook brunch, you do not have to cook any of the dishes. A reputable deli or family-owned restaurant with quality to-go food can do most of the work, and you can supplement the selections with easy-to-make, no-cook dishes from your kitchen.
Quiches and Pies
Quiche is at the peak of flavor when you can serve it at room temperature. Bistros and cafes often sell delicious whole quiches for take-out, but don’t refrigerate them or the crust will become soggy and greasy. Frittatas made and picked up the same day as serving are also great brunch food. Buy a couple of fruit pies at the local bakery for guests who like a little sweetness at their midday meal.
Nothing pairs better with quiche or frittata than salad. Instead of traditional mixed greens, add some pizzazz with fresh slices of peach, pineapple, or melon and a smattering of roasted nuts on top. When fruit is in season, make an elegant fruit salad with an array of textures, tastes, and colors of the summer. Serve it with a honey dipping sauce on the side. Think outside the salad bowl and create unique salads by pairing cantaloupe and avocado or watermelon and goat cheese. Make a slaw from apples and pineapple and season it with poppy seeds. Mix cubed, seeded cucumber with fresh berries and toss them with freshly chopped mint.
Meat and Poultry
A spiral-sliced ham makes a lovely centerpiece for a brunch table and is perfect at room temperature. Purchase a couple of roasted chickens at the market, cut them into serving pieces, and arrange them on a platter lined with leafy lettuce. You can also dice the precooked chicken, make a light salad, and fill lettuce cups with the mixture. A smoked duck breast from an Asian deli is an ideal brunch entree.
From the Sea
Smoked salmon is a delectable brunch food served alone or alongside bagels and herb-enhanced cream cheese. Some restaurants will sell you a whole poached salmon fillet, perfectly seasoned and chilled. Purchase large, cooked, and perfectly chilled shrimp from your local fishmonger the morning of the brunch and serve it with a lightly spiced remoulade. Ceviche makes an elegant presentation nicely garnished with fresh dill sprigs.
Breads and Rolls
Munching on freshly baked breads and rolls is a brunch tradition. Put out baskets of sweet and savory muffins, along with sliced banana bread. Offer flaky croissants filled with ham and cheese as well as plain ones that you can slather with cinnamon honey butter or thick jams and preserves. Include some ciabatta rolls for guests who want to make a sandwich with the meats, fish, or poultry. Satisfy sweet-tooth cravings with a selection of cinnamon rolls, apple fritters, and creamy Danish.