Breakfast Board

Breakfast Board

Eggs are the quintessential kitchen staple — inexpensive, delicious and packed with protein. So, this month, we’ll be sharing delicious recipes that showcase the versatile egg. First up is a beautiful breakfast board with boiled eggs, crusty bread and salty cheese from Leela Cyd’s new cookbook, Food with Friends. Wouldn’t this be pretty to serve to weekend guests? Here’s how to set it up…

Breakfast Board
By Leela Cyd, author of Food with Friends

I was first introduced to the concept of a breakfast board in Amsterdam about 10 years ago where I stayed with my then boyfriend, now husband. We were served a decadent tray every morning with an array of nibbles and a big pot of tea. Each day started on such a high note.

Now I’ve taken this idea and adapted it — there are pickled items such as olives and shallots, the richness of hard cheese and fresh seasonal fruit. Whenever I make a board, I tweak it depending on the season and my appetite. Sometimes it’s yogurt in place of cheese and a pastry in place of toast. Whatever mood strikes you, it’s all about layering the ingredients on a tray, cutting board or even a dinner plate. If you get stuck with your display, fresh flowers and salt sprinkles will always take it up a notch.

For this one, you’ll need:

2 slices hearty German-style brown bread, cut into triangles
4 slices baguette
1 semi-hard salty cheese, such as Piave Vecchio, Comté, or Gruyère, cut into 8 long spears 1/4 inch thick
4 large cubes of your favorite cheddar cheese
1 soft cheese, such as fresh goat cheese, Boursin, burrata, or even a quality cream cheese
1/2 cup pitted briny green olives
1/2 cup quick pickled shallots
2 types of jam, 1 to 2 tablespoons of each
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
Flaky sea salt
2 large hard-boiled eggs
2 pieces seasonal fruit, cut into slim wedges or bite-size pieces
Freshly ground black pepper

Divide the cut breads and cheeses between the platters. Place the olives and shallots in their own small bowls, and spoon the jams into small vessels (shot glasses are surprisingly lovely here). Smear the butter in a dollop onto the board and sprinkle with a touch of flaky salt. Nestle the hard-boiled eggs and cut fruit onto the board anywhere you think it looks pretty. The presentation can be as natural and wild or contained and orderly as you like. Serve with butter knives and a napkin, along with extra salt and pepper.

Thanks so much, Leela! Your new cookbook is lovely.

P.S. More recipes, including a savory breakfast salad and a guide to the perfect cheese plate.

(Recipe excerpted from Food with Friends by Leela Cyd, published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers. This series is edited by Stella Blackmon.)

  1. Liz says...

    I was tasked with bringing breakfast for my team at work today, and I made this. It was DELICIOUS and such a hit! I love how everyone can kind of pick their own adventure with it, and it’s so fun to dig in. Awesome idea, will definitely be making again :)

  2. Wow this breakfast tray is just the thing my family needs to start their day. You have wisely used proteins, fiber and carbohydrates..I am sure my fussy 5 year old would love this each morning.. May be i can add vanilla milk or strawberry milkshake to go with the tray!
    Can’t wait to try this!

  3. It seems like a lot but I think we will try this one day with friends. Already saved the recipe. Now, I’d like to find a big board to complete the arrangement. Great idea!

  4. JG says...

    Love this idea, Lauren! When I was in Denmark during college my Danish family prepared something like this for us every morning.

  5. Omg! I love this idea. Especially for a weekend morning when my girlfriends are over and we are just chatting away.

  6. I only want to eat off breakfast boards now. I can never decide what I want for breakfast and with this organized chaos of breakfast foods I can have a little bit of everything, genius.

  7. i would loveee this for lunch or dinner too. i love having little bites of everything, instead of one boring meal

  8. Absolutely beautiful! I’d eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner! This reminds me of the types of breakfast I had in Israel!

  9. shopgirl says...

    And suddenly I became hungry ….. :-)

  10. Anne says...

    Superbe, délicieux
    Magnifique présentation !

  11. Julie M says...

    Gorgeous! Anyone have ideas on where to purchase the German style bread, or perhaps is goes by another name? Is it in the fresh baked goods section or packaged and sitting on a shelf? I live in Los Angeles and don’t think I’ve seen it at the usual suspects: Whole Foods, Sprouts, TJs…

    • Em says...

      CostPlus/World Market has it

    • The closest you’ll come to the German style brown bread in the US is to pick up a fresh loaf of rye bread from the bakery. It’s pretty dense and traditionally eaten untoasted. :o)

  12. Linda says...

    That is so beautiful!!

  13. Drool…this reminds me of the breakfast spreads in Turkey. In Turkey I’m convinced every family eats like this every morning – an elaborate spread that contains all of the above (substitute cheddar with feta) plus the ever-present chunks of ripe tomatoes and cucumbers.

    Makes me wonder if I could pull some non-fancy version of this even on a regular morning.

  14. i do variations of this idea for my deeply Southern family for our holiday/birthday dinners. deconstructed cobb salads being the biggest hit etc. try the breakfast board with a little pain au chocolat too and nutella in a nice jar. i’m not one for sweets, but it’s nice to have a little decadent surprise mixed in with all the seriousness. lovely post.

  15. This is right up my alley! Fun to change breakfast up. Especially, if you are having guests over.

  16. Elizabeth says...

    I LOVE doing this! I would add: nuts and honey, and possibly marscapone in place of the cream cheese.

  17. Samantha says...

    Ok, this board is my food dream come true. I LOVE breakfast food and I LOVE cheese boards. I would definitely do a sweet and salty mix here, and add mini pancakes! They’re even easier to make that regular pancakes, just use a cupcake or muffin mold and cook in the oven for like 10 minutes, and you get perfectly round mini pancakes. Mini waffles and croissants would be super lovely too, and definitely nutella :D
    So mine would go like this:
    – Mini pancakes
    – Mini croissants / fresh baguette
    – Strawberry jam
    – Guava jam
    – Nutella
    – Olive oil
    – Camembert, grated parmesan and gouda cheese
    – Whipped cream cheese
    – Turkey ham
    – Strawberries and green grapes
    – Salt and pepper
    I need to make this soon.

    • Samantha says...

      I forgot about the eggs, sorry. I’d use hard boiled eggs and make a big omelette and cut it in small servings :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Sounds SO good!!!

  18. This looks ahhhmazingly good! I make most of our lunches look like this on the weekend (it’s basically just a big version of my toddlers lunch everyday)! I understand now why she eats more & a variety when I give her a “snack” plate lunch!


  19. erica says...

    YES! I love fancy breakfasts and this one looks easy, too!

  20. Wow, this looks PERFECT! :))

  21. Staying with family in Turkey we had this sort of thing for breakfast every day. My favorite part was homemade jam with soft white cheese (beyaz peynir) spread on slices of fresh bread. They also include cucumbers and tomatoes – yes, at breakfast! Add a hot cup of strong Turkish tea and you have a feast.

    • Geny says...

      I was going to say : this looks like a Turkish breakfast! So yummy :-)

  22. Tricia says...

    Too beautiful to eat, but that wouldn’t stop me from eating it anyway. I love breakfast boards. Experienced my first on the beautiful island of Malta.

  23. I’ve never thought about a breakfast board before! I love making large and beautiful cheese plates for parties, but this is an inspired idea for brunch! So glad you posted this!


  24. Nicole says...

    Yes very much what I’ve been accustom to when visiting friends in Germany and Turkey. Such a great way to start the day, best with a large group since there are so many options to pull out of the fridge/pantry, but as long as you buy quality ingredients, the prep is as complicated as hard boiling one egg per person.

  25. Tamsin says...

    Yes to eggs! My ideal breakfast platter would have the eggs, butter, and toasted rye bread, but would switch cheese for Greek yogurt and would add choc chip brioche rolls. The toast would be slightly burnt – I know its bad for you but so delicious and you do only live once!

  26. This definitely looks like a fun way to present breakfast, sometimes I just find the whole bowl of cereal or peanut butter on toast so boring, but this looks amazing! You’ll have to let us know where you stayed to receive the breakfast tray in Amsterdam! Eggs are definitely a thing I want to add into my diet, I’m just not a massive fan of them and need someone to present me with loads of different ones that I can try!

  27. Catie says...

    What a beautiful way to display such a lovely breakfast! This is by far my favorite way to have the meal. As others have noted, it’s easy to enjoy something similar in Germany or Turkey (and I’m sure a number of other places). I’m heading that way in about a month and have been dreaming of breakfast with feta, tomato, and olives for weeks!

  28. Jean says...

    Great idea! About how many people would her instructions serve?

  29. kaitlin says...

    that is such a beautiful photo. i want to print, frame, and hang it in my kitchen.

  30. Amy says...

    Similar to what I think (and enjoy!) as a Turkish breakfast. Looks great.

  31. Great post! Eggs are so healthy and filling, I need to start incorporating them into my daily eating routine!

    xx, Hannah

  32. This looks amazing and (fairly) easy to put together. The hard part would be sharing….

  33. Alicia says...

    This would be a lovely mother’s day treat…but I’ll probably end up cooking breakfast for everyone!

  34. Yes to hard cheese for breakfast! I picked up this habit living in France and when I came back here people thought I was crazy eating “lunch” food first thing in the morning. But this all looks amazing :)

  35. Lindsay says...

    I love this idea so much! Looks delicious :)

  36. Tania says...

    Dear lord, that looks amazing!!!

  37. Cynthia says...

    Wow. This would elevate my usual array of granola, yogurt, and fruit to a whole new stratosphere! Can’t wait for my next round of weekend guests!

  38. So pretty! It’s like a breakfast food canvas! It’s an amazing fresh, new concept (even if you had it originally 10 years ago) because I feel like it’s the cheese plate re-imagined for the morning. What a civilized, appealing, and wonderful way to start the day. Definitely going to do this.

  39. Isadora says...

    Love Leela! Love this recipe.

  40. I could totally see this as a great dinner when you don’t feel like cooking! This picture is making me very hungry. :)

  41. Neena says...

    This looks delicious!

  42. Julia says...

    My favorite breakfast, adapted from my husband’s close German friends! Truly always a hit with visitors and feels so special…even when it is just dark rye toast + butter + sliced (good) cheese and deli meats at my desk this morning. Love the photo inspiration, I need to step up my game!

  43. Rosey says...

    I LOVE EGGS! This looks amazing, I’m already hungry for lunch and this isn’t helping, ha!

  44. This looks so good! It reminds me of a breakfast we’d have every morning in a little hotel in the Black Forest in Germany.

  45. This reminds me not only of breakfast chez some friends in the Netherlands but also of breakfast in Jordan, where there was a tomato/cucumber/feta salad. Cheese, brown bread, eggs, cold cuts… All good stuff to keep your energy levels steady during the morning. Eating sugar at breakfast is a sure way to hit a wall a few hours later. Personally, I have been making French-style savory cakes for breakfast; make ahead, freeze and thaw as needed. Like muffins but savory and full of veggies. I put a recipe on my blog.

    • kate says...

      good points. love the savory cake idea.

  46. What a great idea!! Can’t wait to try this for a brunch get together with friends.

    Leela—so excited for your new book. Cannot wait to see all the beautiful images + yummy recipes.

  47. Trish O says...

    Really beautiful. I love this idea.

  48. Kadija says...

    This is GENIUS! Adding this to the monthly brunch gathering amongst the ladies – my mom and (essentially adopted as adults) sisters! Thank you!!

  49. Diana says...

    Looks incredible!!