Recipes and Photos by Taylor Johnson



veryone loves a good brunch — a perfect mealtime compromise for late risers and early lunchers.

This month, Karl Merten, the Visalia Country Club’s chef, shares with us some simple but delicious brunch items with an emphasis on light and healthy. Trend toward breakfast with a vegetarian quiche (keto-friendly!), or toward lunch with grilled salmon and fennel salad dressed in a citrus-honey dressing. Whatever you like, we hear a weekend brunch calling your name!

Keto Veggie Quiche

A savory mix of kale, broccoli and caramelized onions is mixed in with the creamy, cheesy custard you love, all baked in a parmesan cheese and almond flour crust.

To make a 9-inch pie:


  • 2 cups broccoli chopped
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup thinly chopped yellow onion, caramelized in a pan till golden and soft
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic added to onions halfway through caramelizing process
  • 8 eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded or 1/2-inch cubed Swiss cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • For the crust:
  • 1/4-1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


Use spray coating or stick of butter rubbed thoroughly on inside of pan.

Coat pie pan with almond and parmesan mixture until thoroughly coated; it’s OK if crust is thick in spots.

In a sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon butter and broccoli, sauté 3 minutes, add kale and sauté until wilted (2 to 3 minutes)

Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Caramelize onions in 1 tablespoon butter over medium low heat.

Allow to sweat and eventually caramelize and become lightly golden and soft in color.

Add garlic and allow to cook about

10-15 minutes.

Transfer to mixing bowl with broccoli and kale.

Mix gently and allow to rest (it’s OK to chill if this is being prepared in advance).

In a separate bowl, combine eggs

and cream, nutmeg and a pinch of

salt and pepper.

Whisk until you get a smooth, even mixture.

Transfer the vegetables to the prepared pie pan.

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Pour egg mixture over the veggies.

Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for about 25-35 minutes or until the quiche is fully cooked through.

Let the quiche rest for a few minutes before serving.

Serve with romesco sauce.

Romesco Sauce

This simplified romesco recipe is made with basic pantry ingredients and ready in 5 minutes. It’s bold, zippy and delicious. Recipe yields about 2 1/2 cups.


  • One 16-ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup raw or roasted almonds (unsalted)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2-4 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/2-1 cup extra-virgin olive oil


In a blender (preferably) or food processor, combine everything but the olive oil.

Securely fasten the lid and blend, starting on low and increasing the speed as you gain traction.

Once the ingredients are mostly blended, start drizzling in the olive oil while running the blender.

Blend until you reach your desired consistency (I like my romesco sauce pretty smooth in texture).

Taste and add additional salt if necessary.

Serve immediately, or store in a jar in the refrigerator for seven to 10 days.


MAKE IT NUT FREE: Your best bet would probably be to omit the almonds. If you can tolerate pine nuts, they would work (technically, pine nuts are seeds, but people with nut allergies are sometimes allergic to pine nuts as well).

MAKE IT TOMATO FREE: Romesco sauces typically contain tomatoes, but you can omit the sun-dried tomatoes if necessary.

Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Honey Dressing, Fennel and Citrus Salad


  • 2 8-ounce salmon filets, skin and bones removed
  • Olive oil for brushing salmon
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the salad:
  • 1/8 cup juice from one lemon
  • Supremes of one orange (peeled and cut between segments)
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pink peppercorns or multi-colored peppercorns
  • 1/8 cup white balsamic, sherry or champagne vinegar
  • 2 cups arugula leaves
  • 1 fennel bulb thinly sliced on a mandolin or
  • by hand
  • 1 cup celery leaves
  • Red onion slices (to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley torn or rough chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or grape seed oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Prepare to grill the salmon; preheat grill to medium heat, brush salmon very lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place on grill; allow to cook for 2 to 3

minutes (do not touch or move unless you have a flameup and/or the grill is too hot).

After 3 minutes, slide spatula under filet and move the filet 90 degrees either to the right or left to get that diamond mark.

Allow to cook 2 more minutes, then gently flip filet over.

Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes and repeat process.

Once the fish is cooked, remove from the

fire immediately.

It is ready for service.

Make the dressing

Whisk the lemon juice, vinegar and honey

in a small bowl.

Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.

Season with salt.

Combine the arugula, celery leaves, parsley, red onions and fennel in a large bowl and toss with the dressing.

Divide among plates and top with the salmon.