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Ask A South Florida Chef: Best Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

May 8, 2013 8:00 AM

Mother’s Day goes hand in hand with spring and the blooming of flowers from a long winter’s rest. In South Florida, one feels spring when the sky is bright blue, the sun drenches but doesn’t beat down on a person and there are bursts of color everywhere (plants, trees, dresses). Families pepper restaurant waiting areas from the afternoon into the night to celebrate Mother’s Day with a tasty brunch while others invite mom to a get-together at their house. It is a time for mothers to feel loved and appreciated, remembered and rewarded for all the hours spent spreading love to each family member. For that family get-together, here are three recipes to try at home.

Chef Conor Hanlon

The Dutch Restaurant – Miami
2201 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 938-3111

New York-native Conor Hanlon offers two recipes for a Mother’s Day brunch. He has spent over half of his life in the kitchen and offers Mother’s Day-inspired recipes where scents fill the home and allow the cook to make a sumptuous meal while entertaining. Chef Hanlon has worked in Las Vegas at the Wynn Hotel (DB Brasserie), the Marriott Marquis (DB Bistro) on Brickell Avenue and at the Dutch Restaurant in New York with owner Chef Andrew Carmellini. Hanlon found the culinary arts to be his profession and passion from jobs at local eateries in Syracuse. He works at the Dutch Miami with Chef Carmellini and fellow owners on operations, menu development and specials.

Roast Leg of Lamb (mother’s favorite)


  • 1 6-lb bone-in or boneless leg of lamb (if boneless, you will need to tie with butcher twine)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper for taste


  1. Pick the rosemary leaves and set them aside, then juice the fresh lemons and set that aside as well.
  2. Scale out the ingredients and add them together in a food processor. Pulse them until you have a smooth marinade.
  3. Rub leg of lamb with the marinade and wrap in a plastic wrap or place in a large ziploc bag overnight in the refrigerator to marinade.
  4. Pull the leg of lamb out of the fridge two hours before cook to temperature. Remove from the bag and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the leg of lamb on a roasting rack and add a sheet tray to catch the drippings.
  6. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F. At 450, cook the leg of lamb for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F.
  7. Cook for an additional 60-65 minutes for medium rare or 70-75 for medium. Once finished, let the meat rest for 10 minutes (very important).

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polenta Ask A South Florida Chef: Best Mothers Day Brunch Recipes

(Photo by Michael Stuparyk/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Creamy Polenta (side dish)


  • 1000 grams yellow polenta
  • 3 1/2 qts of heavy cream
  • 3 qts of milk
  • 1 qt of water
  • 1 qt parmesan
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix the milk and cream together.
  2. Season the mix and bring it to a simmer.
  3. Whisk in the polenta at a slow, constant rate (continue whisking constantly).
  4. Once the polenta is bubbling, turn the heat down low.
  5. Cook roughly for 2 hours (texture should be very smooth, not grainy).
  6. If the consistency is right, slowly add your butter followed by the parmesan.
  7. Add 1 quart of water if the consistency is too thick.
spring peas Ask A South Florida Chef: Best Mothers Day Brunch Recipes

(Photo by Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Spring Peas with Mint


  • English peas
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 3 Tbsp of water
  • 2 Tbsp of whole butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Blanch your peas in salted boiling water for 2 minutes, then shock them in ice water.
  2. Clean and rough chop a handful of fresh mint.
  3. Place a saute pan on medium heat and add the English peas with 3 Tbsp of water.
  4. Throw in the chopped mint, then finish with two Tbsp of whole butter.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Eric L Labrador is a freelance writer covering all things Miami. His work can be found on

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