If you’re looking to make mom a special meal for Mother’s Day, check out these recipes from Rania Harris!

Breakfast Bread Pudding

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups rustic Italian bread, crust removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ pound spicy or mild bulk sausage (your choice)
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 5 cups)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Gruyere,
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Toss the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of the oil, sea salt and black pepper to taste in a large bowl. Transfer the bread cubes to a parchment lined baking pan and toast them in the oven until they are golden brown – remove from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Allow the bread cubes to cool completely. This step may be done a day before assembling the bread pudding.

Grease a 9-by-13-inch (3-quart) casserole dish with butter.

In a medium skillet, cook the bulk sausage until no visible pink appears and is completely cooked through – set aside while preparing the rest of the recipe.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil and add the mushrooms in one layer (and cook until they start to brown. Add the garlic, thyme, sea salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the spinach. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cooked sausage and combine well. Remove from the heat. Place half the bread cubes in the prepared casserole dish, and sprinkle them with half each of the Gruyere and Parmesan. Add the mushroom-spinach-sausage mixture in an even layer. Top with the remaining bread cubes, Gruyere and Parmesan. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, parsley and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture into the casserole dish. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours up to overnight. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the casserole until the custard is set and the top is golden brown, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature. Serves – 8

Salade Nicoise

Dressing:

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup Balsamic vinegar (or more to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • Mixed field greens
  • 4 medium red new potatoes – cooked and cut into halves
  • 2 cups crisp cooked French green beans
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 4 hard cooked eggs – cut into halves
  • ¼ cup capers – rinsed and drained
  • 12 anchovy fillets – left whole
  • 1 pound Ahi tuna – sushi grade
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil for searing the tuna

Dressing:
Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well blended.

Carefully mound the mixed greens on oversized dinner plates. Arrange the potatoes, green beans, olives, grape tomatoes and hard cooked eggs on the greens, allowing the center clear for the tuna slices.

Press the fresh cracked pepper into the tuna to coat it well. Heat a heavy skillet and add a little bit of olive oil. Add the tuna and sear it just until it browns on both sides. The object is for the tuna to be very rare – so a minute per side will do the trick.

Slice the tuna against the grain and fan it over the center of the salad. Garnish the platter with the capers and anchovy fillet and dress the salad lightly with the vinaigrette, passing remaining vinaigrette in a sauceboat separately.

Serves: 4

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