Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sunday Brunch at The Ritz: A Family Tradition

Sunday Brunch at the Ritz has been one of my family's more decadent traditions for years, especially when we all gathered for holidays on Longboat Key — that was until they permanently closed the doors on this divine diversion two years ago. So imagine our delight when we discovered that the Ritz in Toronto had launched their own Sunday Brunch in the hotel's signature restaurant TOCA. One of the most extravagant in the city, Sunday Brunch at The Ritz can set you back about $80 per person, but for special occasions, it's well worth it! Guests can explore a wonderland of lobster tails, chilled poached shrimp, mussels, sushi, a live carving station, omelette station, charcuterie and more, plus enjoy never ending glasses of Mimosas or Bloody Caesars. And if that wasn't enough, a chocolate fountain, crêperie, and French pastries for dessert. Not to be outdone, the Ritz also holds a Veuve Clicquot Sunday Brunch on the last Sunday of every month at $145 per person, which includes all of the Veuve Cliquot you can quaff. When 'extravagant' is on your culinary wish list, the Ritz brunch is hard to beat. So is my Mom, who's birthday we just celebrated — Happy Birthday Mom!

House Cured Gravlax with Microgreens

Roast Lamb with Tarragon Cream 

Grilled Eggplant with Endive

Fresh Seafood Platter with lobster tails, oysters, crab claws and shrimp

A selection of Cured and Smoked Salmon, as well as Hot-Smoked Salmon Trout

Prosciutto, Black Forest Ham and Italian Cured Salumi

One of the quintessential Sunday Brunch libations: The Bloody Caeser

The Ritz Vegetarian Pizza

Ritz Buttermilk Pancakes with Canadian Maple Syrup

Bowls of fresh berries, melon and yoghurt 

The Ritz Carving Station with a Pepper-Crusted Roast Sirloin of Beef

The Ritz Sunday Brunch Decadent Dessert Room

Mini Rum Bababs with whipped cream, fresh berries and Ritz-Carlton chocolate garnish

Mini Mango Cheesecakes

Apricot Crème Brûlée

Bowls of Homemade Marshmallows

A rainbow of colourful Macaroons

A hot Cappuccino is the perfect end to a languorous Sunday morning brunch

Salmon Cakes with Prairie Grains
Serves 6
Recipe courtesy Chef Tom Brodi, Ritz-Carlton, Toronto

Salmon cakes:
3 180-g cans boneless, skinless sockeye salmon, drained
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs, divided
3 tbsp mayonnaise, with more as needed
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Prairie grains:
1 cup chicken stock or water
1/2 cup white basmati rice
19-oz can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

mayonnaise and fresh parsley

Place the salmon in a medium bowl and break apart with a fork until flaked. Add the onion, celery, parsley, 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise, and mix thoroughly. If the mixture isn’t holding together well, add a little more mayo 1 tablespoon at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the salmon into 6 balls, then roll with the remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs to coat. Pat them down slightly into thick burger shapes.

Heat oil in a medium, ovenproof frying pan over medium. Add the salmon cakes and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to preheated 350°F oven and bake until warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the prairie grains, bring the chicken stock to boil in a medium pot over high heat. Stir in the rice, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed, then let stand covered, for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the beans, tomatoes, parsley and lemon juice and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide the Prairie Grains in the middle of six serving plates and top each with a salmon cake and top with a dollop of mayonnaise with a garnish of parsley.