Because palates (and the people who own them) typically like to ease into the day, traditional American breakfast foods are fairly mild: Eggs, hash browns and white toast taste as bland as they look, which is why savvy brunch hosts know to set the table with a range of interesting salts, black pepper and a bottle of hot sauce. But why stop there? To make a morning meal even more exciting, provide an array of savory and sweet condiments to perk up what amounts to blank canvases. The right finishing touch can transform a simple strata or pastry into an unforgettable dish. Read on for a few ideas:

Think of this hot chili pepper paste from Tunisia as an accelerated ketchup, with a round, robust flavor that punches up any dish. Harissa is ideal over Greek Scrambled Eggs.


If you're serving beef for breakfast, horseradish is a natural. But its tang also pairs beautifully with acidic tomatoes and eggs of all kinds. Try it with Deluxe Corned Beef Hash.


As a component of Huevos Rancheros and other popular breakfast dishes, red salsa often makes a brunch time appearance. But consider a fresh salsa verde as a colorful addition to your spread, especially if the feast features a Spanish Potato Omelet.


The perfect way to enhance waffles, pancakes or French toast, compote can be made all year round with frozen berries; a slow-cooker helps release their appealing sugars. The compote's sweetness pairs beautifully with the earthiness of Sourdough Buckwheat Pancakes.


More frequently seen with chicken tagine and other Moroccan dinner dishes, preserved lemons lend fragrant citrus notes to plain Greek yogurt, and are an equally fun touch in a bloody Mary. Preserved lemons would also wake up this No-Cook Overnight Oatmeal.


Although designed for eaters who can't tolerate nuts, homemade sunflower soy butter is a rich and oily spread that guests will enjoy even if they're not medically barred from digging into jarred peanut butter. Apply it to Janet's Rich Banana Bread for unforgettable results.

Banana Bread
Photo by Andrew Scrivani

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