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The 5 Best Valentine’s Day Breakfast Ideas

For this Valentine’s Day, why not spoil a loved one with a delicious and creative breakfast? Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to indulge, and what’s more decadent for breakfast than eggs Benedict and French toast — especially when it includes ingredients like smoked salmon or ricotta cheese. For this Valentine’s Day, The Manual is happy to share a curated list of the most creative and tastiest recipes courtesy of some of the best chefs in America.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict Recipe

One smoked salmon eggs Benedict from queensyard on a gray blue plate.
Queensyard in Hudson Yards

This extravagant eggs Benedict recipe is from Brian Yurko, Executive Chef of D&D London NYC, and is featured on the brunch menu at Queensyard in Hudson Yards, Manhattan. Inspired by the English country home, Queensyard is a multi-faceted restaurant, transitioning seamlessly from afternoon tea to refined dinner service and cocktails.

While traditional eggs Benedict typically uses ham, Chef Yurko’s recipe upgrades the dish with a more lavish ingredient. “At Queensyard, we throw a little caution to the wind and substitute smoked salmon for the ham and add some sautéed spinach — like if a Benedict and a Florentine had a delicious baby, said Yurko. “This recipe is kind of open-ended, you can make as many or as few as you want but each one has the same basic components: a toasted English muffin, sautéed spinach, smoked salmon, poached eggs, and hollandaise.”

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2

Ingredients:

For Eggs Benedict:

  • 2 English muffins, cut into half
  • 8 thin slices of smoked salmon
  • Large handful of spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • Optional: garlic, chili flakes

For Hollandaise Sauce:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, melted and hot
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ½ teaspoons tabasco sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoon warm water

Method:

For Eggs Benedict: 

  1. Cut English muffins in half, butter them liberally, and toast them. Once toasted, set them aside but don’t keep them in the oven. We want crispy and chewy, not little bene-bricks.
  2. For the spinach: start with a hot sauté pan and a splash of olive oil and really just cram that pan full of spinach. It takes a substantial amount for even 2 English muffins worth of Benedict. Move it around with your favorite spatula until it is all wilted, season with salt and pepper to your preference, then drain on paper towels to cool. Spinach truly is a blank canvas so this is a great opportunity to add some additional flavors if you want: garlic and chili flakes, lemon zest.
  3. For poached eggs: fill a small pot (something about 6 inches deep, it probably has a 4 1/2 quart capacity and it’s probably already your favorite pot to cook pasta in) with water and bring to a boil. Shut off the heat and add a couple of heavy pinches of salt and at least 4 tablespoons of vinegar. I like using Champagne or White Wine Vinegar; it tastes better than plain old distilled vinegar and is generally a higher acidic percentage, making your poaching water just a touch stronger.
  4. Turn the heat back on and when you see little bubbles forming on the bottom of the pot you are ready to add the eggs. Give your water a gentle swirl, this will help prevent the whites from sticking to the bottom of the pot and keep them separated while they cook, and put the eggs in 1 at a time and leave them alone! It is very tempting to mess with them while they cook, but you must resist.
  5. Let the eggs poach for about 4 minutes before gently lifting them out with a slotted spoon, runny yolks will feel like a tiny water balloon with nicely cooked whites. If that’s not your jam just put them back in and leave them longer. When they are cooked how you want, take them out and cook them in a bowl of cold water. Make sure to keep the poaching water to reheat the eggs before assembly.

For Hollandaise Sauce:

  1. Combine the salt, lemon juice, tabasco, and water. Stir to dissolve.
  2. Place the egg yolks in a medium-size bowl over a pot of barely simmering water (yet another reason to keep that poaching water, you can use it for this as well) and whisk until they are slightly fluffy and a pale yellow. Remove the bowl from the heat and slowly start whisking in the melted butter. Whisk in about a third of the butter, then whisk in a third of the lemon tabasco mixture. Alternate until everything is incorporated and check it is seasoned to your liking.

For Eggs Benedict Assembly: 

  1. It’s recommended to not heat up smoked salmon, as it tends to lose all of its luxuries — especially if you are using something from a great producer (Russ & Daughters here in NYC for some truly heavenly smoked fish.)
  2. Warm the eggs in the poaching water, and the English muffins and spinach in the oven.
  3. Get your favorite plate and put the English muffins down first, a little hollandaise will act like glue and help them from sliding around on you as well. Add the spinach and then layer on your smoked salmon, as artfully as you desire. Use a spoon and press a divot into the center of each stack, this will stop your poached egg from sliding off. Remove the warmed eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and place them in the center.
  4. Smother with as much hollandaise as your arteries desire.

Vegetarian Eggs Benedict with Broccolini and Meyer Lemon Hollandaise Recipe

One eggs Benedict with broccolini on white plate with fork.
Sylvia Fountaine

This vegetarian eggs Benedict recipe is from food blogger Sylvia Fountaine, the creator of Feasting at Home. “My eggs Benedict are the perfect “level-up” to traditional bennies to impress your Valentine, made with broccolini, a lemon-hollandaise sauce, and completely veggie-friendly,” said Fountaine.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, poached or fried
  • 8 ounces broccolini
  • 2 English muffins, toasted
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Meyer Lemon Hollandaise sauce:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon juice)
  • Pinch salt, pepper, and cayenne
  • Optional: garnish with flaky sea salt, pepper, chili “threads” (or chili flakes, or Aleppo chili pepper), lemon zest, and fresh chopped Italian parsley.

Method:

  1. Steam or roast the broccolini until fork tender. If roasting, toss w/ a little olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest, minced garlic- spread out on a sheet pan and roast in 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven until tender.
  2. For the Meyer lemon hollandaise sauce: vigorously whisk the egg yolks and Meyer lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume.
  3. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the Eggs Benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.
  4. Poach or fry the eggs.
  5. Toast the English muffins. To assemble: place the English muffin on the bottom, then broccolini, season with salt, top with egg, spoon hollandaise over top and around, season again with flaky salt, pepper, chili “threads” or chili flakes ( or Aleppo chili pepper) lemon zest, Italian parsley Serve immediately!

Nutella French Toast Recipe

Two slices of Nutella French toast covered with powdered sugar on gray black plate.
Honey Salt Vancouver

Craving chocolate and hazelnuts? Try this French toast recipe from Honey Salt Vancouver, located inside Parq Vancouver Resort & Casino. Created by Elizabeth Blau of Blau + Associates, this recipe is guaranteed to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth on Valentine’s Day.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 4

Ingredients:

For Nutella Whip:

  • 6 ¾ tablespoon Nutella
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1 shot espresso

For Hazelnut Brittle:

  • 3 1/2 ounces hazelnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 tablespoon water

For Nutella French Toast:

  • Fresh brioche (cut 1 in. thick)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 ½ ounce condensed sweetened milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 whole eggs
  • Maple sugar
  • Icing sugar
  • Mint leaf for garnish

Method: 

For Nutella Whip:

  1. Add all ingredients together in a bowl and whisk until whip cream consistency.

For Hazelnut Brittle:

  1. Have a silicone-lined sheet pan ready and set aside.
  2. In a pot, add the water and sugar. Be careful, as the sugar will become extremely hot. Do not overcook the sugar!
  3. Add the chopped hazelnuts to the sugar and mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture onto the sheet pan and let cool completely at room temperature.
  5. Break into bite-size pieces and serve.

For Nutella French Toast:

  1. Preheat a griddle or non-stick frypan to medium-high heat.
  2. Add whipping cream, condensed sweetened milk, salt, and eggs together in a bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Soak the brioche in the mixture and let sit for 2-4 minutes.
  4. Place toast on the griddle and cook for 2-4 minutes. Flip over and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately onto a warm plate. Dust icing sugar on toast and plate.
  6. Place 2-3 nice scoops of the Nutella Whip on the toast and crumble the hazelnut brittle. Garnish with a mint sprig.
  7. Serve with maple syrup on the side. Enjoy!

Almond Crusted, Ricotta & Honey French Toast on Companion Sourdough Bread Recipe

Two Almond French toast on white plate with fork.
Companion Baking

This fun recipe is provided by Companion Baking, a St. Louis-based manufacturer of specialty bread and pastries. Founded in 1993 by Josh Allen, this family-owned establishment has two cafés in the St. Louis area and has been awarded the “Industry Leadership Award” by Modern Baking Magazine and recognized by USA Today as one of the “10 Great Places for Artisan Bread” in America.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4

Ingredients:

For Filling:

  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • Zest of 1 orange

For Syrup:

  • 3/4 cup honey
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For French Toast:

  • 8 slices Companion Sourdough sliced bread
  • 1/2 cup almonds, sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Splash of vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoon butter

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the ricotta and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in orange zest.
  3. In another small bowl, whisk the honey, orange juice, and cinnamon. Add 3 tablespoons of that mixture to the ricotta and stir. Reserve the rest for the topping.
  4. In a shallow wide bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt.
  5. Spread the almonds out on a plate.
  6. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt half the butter in the skillet.
  7. Dip half of the sourdough bread slices in the egg mixture, letting it soak in for about five seconds on each side. Place both sides of the bread in the almonds, pressing them into the side. Put the bread in the melted butter and grill until browned, about 2-­3 minutes on each side. Put the finished bread on a non-greased baking sheet.
  8. Melt the rest of the butter in the skillet and repeat with remaining sourdough bread slices.
  9. Bake the grilled bread in the oven for 8-­10 minutes or until cooked through.
  10. If desired, heat the honey mixture on the stovetop or in the microwave. Serve the French toast slices with a dollop of ricotta and honey.

“Goo Goo Cluster” French Toast Recipe

Goo Goo Cluster French toast with syrup on a white plate placed on a wooden table.
Ella's on 2nd

A peculiar sounding item, “Goo Goo Cluster” is actually a regional favorite candy bar from Nashville, Tennessee. This twist on French toast is from Food & Beverage Director Nick Hertel of Nashville’s Ella’s on 2nd. This is a large recipe so be prepared for leftovers.

Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 quarts heavy cream
  • 1 quart sugar
  • 15 egg yolks
  • 1 cup syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 loaves of Texas toast
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • Caramel Syrup to taste
  • Chocolate Syrup to taste
  • Marshmallows to taste
  • Peanuts to taste
  • Whipped Cream to taste

Method:

For Custard:

  1. Bring cream to a simmer, ensuring it does not scorch.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.
  3. Temper mixtures together to create a custard.

For French Toast:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cube bread and mix with custard mixture and chocolate chips.
  3. Bake in a loaf pan (covered with foil) for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Remove foil and continue baking to crisp the top (10 minutes).
  5. Allow the bread to come to room temperature then place in the refrigerator overnight.
  6. Slice chilled bread between 1/2″ and 1″ slices.
  7. Melt butter in a non-stick pan.
  8. Sear sliced and chilled bread until warmed through and slightly crispy on the edges.
  9. Top with marshmallows and finish in a warm oven until melted.
  10. Once melted, stack 2-3 pieces of bread and garnish with whipped cream a generous amount of caramel and chocolate syrup and peanuts to achieve the traditional flavors of Nashville’s iconic Goo Goo Cluster.

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