Rosti Potatoes With Smoked Salmon and Scrambled Eggs

Serves 6

"In Switzerland, rosti means 'crisp and golden.' The word has become synonymous with the country's famous potato cake. The potato cake makes a delicious cushion for ribbons of smoked salmon and lightly scrambled eggs. Simply finished with a sprinkling of capers, diced red onion, chives and dill, this dish is a lighter and more interesting brunch selection than the usual eggs Benedict and allows you to feel virtuous because you didn't consume the unneeded calories in a hollandaise sauce."

Excerpted from the Breakfast chapter:

For the rosti potatoes:

2 large Idaho potatoes

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1/2 cup clarified butter

For the scrambled eggs:

12 eggs

3 tablespoons creme fraiche

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

To serve and garnish:

12 slices smoked salmon

2 tablespoons creme fraiche

2 teaspoons capers

2 teaspoons finely diced red onion

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives

2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

To make the rosti potatoes: Peel the potatoes and steam them for 15 minutes. Let cool.

Using the large-holed side of a box grater, shred the potatoes. Season the shredded potatoes with salt and pepper to taste and form them into 6 cakes.

In a large skillet, heat half of the clarified butter over medium heat. Carefully place 3 cakes in the skillet and brown them on both sides for about 5 to 7 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining clarified butter and potato cakes. (The rosti potatoes can be made up to 1 hour in advance and rewarmed before serving.)

To make the scrambled eggs: In the top of a double boiler or in a stainless steel bowl that will rest securely on top of a pot of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, creme fraiche, salt and pepper to taste.

Place the mixture over a pot of simmering water and stir, folding the eggs with a rubber spatula until they are very lightly scrambled.

To serve and garnish: Place 1 warm rosti potato in the center of each plate.

Form 2 slices of salmon into circular ribbons on top of each rosti potato.

Place a spoonful of scrambled eggs on top of the smoked salmon and garnish the eggs with a small dollop of creme fraiche. Sprinkle with capers, red onion, chives and dill.

Per serving: 289 calories, 19 gm protein, 11 gm carbohydrates, 19 gm fat, 451 mg cholesterol, 8 gm saturated fat, 546 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber

Lemon and Black Pepper Risotto

Serves 6

"This vibrant, refreshing, and lemony risotto can be made in advance, refrigerated for several days, and finished in a few minutes just before serving. It makes a wonderful first course, or it can be served as an accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken."

Excerpted from the Hot First Courses chapter:

For the risotto base:

2 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 large onion, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

To finish and serve the risotto:

Approximately 11/2 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and coarsely ground black pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Pale green leaves of celery heart (for garnish)

For the risotto base: In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the stock or water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and keep the stock just below boiling.

In another 2-quart saucepan, heat the butter and oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the rice and stir until it is evenly coated with the butter-oil mixture.

Slowly add the hot stock to the rice, 2/3 cup at a time, stirring constantly until the rice absorbs the liquid. This should take about 4 to 5 minutes for each addition.

When all the stock has been absorbed, remove the risotto from the stove and pour onto a baking sheet to stop the cooking and cool as quickly as possible. (The rice will taste a bit raw in the center.) Refrigerate, uncovered, until cold. The risotto base can then be stored in a covered plastic container for up to 2 days.

To finish and serve the risotto: Bring the stock or water to a boil.

Place the chilled risotto in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Pour 11/2 cups of the boiling stock slowly into the risotto, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until the rice is just barely tender but still al dente.

Stir in the cheese and butter, adjusting the consistency with more stock if the risotto becomes too thick. Season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and zest.

Divide the risotto among 6 warm soup plates and garnish with celery leaves.

Per serving: 356 calories, 12 gm protein, 33 gm carbohydrates, 19 gm fat, 38 mg cholesterol, 9 gm saturated fat, 417 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber