Breakfast is probably the meal I struggle most with. I want it to be healthy, but also satisfying enough that I don't feel hungry again by 11 a.m. I want it to be quick and easy, but also, ideally, homemade. I have my go-tos — Irish oatmeal with flax, maple syrup, and a pinch of sea salt and homemade cashew nut milk with dates, cinnamon, and vanilla — but they can start to feel really boring, really fast. And that's when I reach for the batch of pantry cocoa brownies that I made last night.
I'm always on the lookout for great breakfast inspiration to throw into the mix and keep me from a chocolatey beginning to my day (although, admittedly there are worse things). So I was thrilled to find not one, but five smart and delicious ideas at one Miami restaurant during a visit this month.
I'm talking about Fi'lia, the new Italian restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz. Located on the first floor of the SLS Brickell, the light-filled all-day eatery is, in some ways, a departure for Schwartz — it is his first Italian concept — but it's also a continuation.
"In many ways the Italian approach is my approach," he explains. "Respect for ingredients, knowing where they come from, the precision of a good recipe — this is what I think about when I think of Italian cuisine. It's a simple approach I relate to, where things are done in a certain way, for a reason."
It's also more Italian-inspired than authentic Italian. "We take inspiration from the classics, but we're not tied to tradition," says Schwartz. This is especially true of the breakfast menu, which includes subtle and clever nods to Il Bel Paese.
Here are five ideas I'm definitely stealing, including cacio e pepe scrambled eggs.
5 Breakfast Ideas to Steal from Fi'lia in Miami
1. Greek Yogurt + Stewed Prunes + Toasted Pine Nuts
I'm generally not a fan of Greek yogurt. It actually feels too virtuous to me — even the full-fat version — unless it's loaded up with things that sort of negate the point of eating yogurt in the first place. But this version may very well change my mind: The stewed prunes (try this version — so delicious) feel nourishing but also slightly indulgent, and the toasted pine nuts are a nice twist on my usual almonds. The combination feels like something you'd find in Italy, but is still firmly within my comfort zone.
2. Oatmeal + Mascarpone + Mulberry + Lemon
Oatmeal is part of my regular rotation, but it is safe to say I have never had oatmeal that tastes like this. That is largely due to the generous dollop of mascarpone cheese on top — yes, yes, a thousand times yes — but also to mulberry compote (you could easily use blackberry preserves) and candied lemon rinds, which were a nice balance to the richness of the cheese.
Eggs, butter, pecorino, and a few grinds of pepper — this seems like the most obvious application of cacio e pepe ever and I'm not sure why I didn't think of it sooner.
Get even more ideas: More than Pasta: 10 Cacio e Pepe Recipes
4. Lemon Ricotta Pancakes + Kumquat Compote
Adding ricotta to your pancake batter is very smart. One might even say it's ingenious. It basically makes your pancakes super light and fluffy, but still moist. I love the balance of lemon and the kumquat compote on top.
This is definitely a weekend breakfast, but one I'm planning to make stat, using this recipe as my starting point and adding some lemon zest into the mix and substituting marmalade for kumquat compote.
Cooked in almond milk, quinoa becomes a semi-sweet base for all sorts of toppings: chia seeds, hemp seeds, Goji berries, blueberries, and coconut flakes. You can, of course, make do with whatever you have on hand (but I suggest picking up some hemp hearts; they may be my new favorite mix-in).
Which one of these dishes sounds most intriguing to you? Let us know in the comments!