The Best of Giada’s Italian Dim Sum Brunch

02/24/2014 at 04:41 PM ET

Giada De Laurentiis Brunch
Manny Hernandez/Getty

Ciao chow! At the South Beach Wine & Food Festival this past weekend, Giada De Laurentiis started Saturday on a delicious note with an Italian dim sum-style Champagne brunch at Soho Beach House’s Cecconi’s Miami Beach.

Cooking alongside the restaurant’s executive chef Sergio Sigala and James Beard award-winning pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini, De Laurentiis treated the afternoon soirée’s attendees to sweet and savory bites like fried smashed potatoes with lemon, tricolore chopped salad, finger sandwiches and bombolini (Italian doughnuts):

Giada De Laurentiis Brunch
Manny Hernandez/Getty

Giada De Laurentiis Brunch
Manny Hernandez/Getty

Giada De Laurentiis Brunch
Manny Hernandez/Getty

Only Giada could look this gorgeous in the kitchen:

Giada De Laurentiis Brunch
Manny Hernandez/Getty

Hungry for brunch? Of course you are. Below, De Laurentiis shares with PEOPLE her recipe for one of the party’s most popular menu items, fried smashed potatoes. Whip these up as a side at your next brunch bash. Mangia!

Giada De Laurentiis Brunch
Manny Hernandez/Getty

Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemons
Serves 4

2 pounds baby or fingerling potatoes
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra as needed
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
Zest of 2 lemons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place the potatoes in an 8-quart stockpot with enough cold water to cover at least 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling until the potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and allow to dry for 5 minutes. Using the palm of your hand, gently press the potatoes until lightly smashed.

2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat ¼ cup of oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly brown, about 1 minute. Remove the garlic and discard. In batches, add the potatoes and cook, without stirring, until the bottoms turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using the spatula, turn the potatoes over and cook, drizzling with oil if needed, until golden brown on the underside, 5-8 minutes.

3. For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tbsp. oil, lemon juice, parsley, thyme and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl, dress and serve.

—Brooke Showell

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms


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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Showing 4 comments

karen on

I wish the chefs on all the cooking shows would tie their hair back while they are cooking.

Tina on

I just clicked on this to see what the food looked like. I really can’t stand this woman, though. She looks like a bobble head.

Chablis on

I can’t stand her. Too bad someone told her she had a nice smile; she’s been smiling so much it’s frozen in place. Agree on the hair not bring tied back. Also, they never have gloves on.

Lily on

I have nothing against Giada, I used to watch her shows all the time on the food network. But this post is wrong on a few things. First off, nothing on that menu has anything to do with dim sum. Yes, she’s serving up small plates/appetizers but it is not dim sum, which is specifically to Cantonese food served is small portions for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Second, a soiree by definition is an evening party therefore an afternoon soiree is a misnomer. And lastly, if you’re preparing food in a commercial kitchen, you need to tie that hair up!