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Place fried eggs atop breakfast has dish

9/19/13 | By Paul Suplee CEC PCIII

On any other day, I would be happy to write about a heavy breakfast item. But at the moment, I am sitting and wishing I could instead be walking off today’s lunch — a tasty regional spread of crab imperial, crab cakes, barbecued oysters in homemade sauce, steamed clams in brown butter, beer-battered soft shell crabs, Dijon-encrusted soft shells, corn pudding, roasted squash and kale et al.

Was it delicious? You better believe it was.

Was it filling? Well, let me just say that the more my fingers type about food, the less I want to think about it.

I guess that is one downfall of a job like mine. I have to taste the wares of my students and must do so judiciously so as to not leave anyone out.

Had it not been for the shellfish-laden, high-calorie luncheon at high noon, I would be relishing in the overly flavored and rich brunch food offered up as today’s sacrifice to the Gazette.

Yea, verily I love such hearty items, but not for breaking the fast we have come to know as sleep. No, this morsel of richness and satiety is the perfect brunch food, made more to nosh before a day of manly lumberjacking or building.

The one saving grace in this dish that keeps it from going over the top is the use of vegetable demi-glace in place of meat glace.

The sweetness of the demi helps the dish to maintain certain lightness despite the rich nature of the beast, making it a good addition to a sunny morning menu.

Yet, if the leaves are falling and the temperature has dropped 30 degrees in two weeks (I, of course, am speaking from immediate experience), then this dish is sturdy enough to survive the chill of morning. I cannot speak for everyone, but our heat is not turned on yet, and as such our abode is a bit brisk upon waking.

And that makes this our favorite time of year.

The combination of the cool air and warming, rich foods only gets us prepared for the best three months of the year: October to December.

It is hard to believe that the leaves are about to begin changing color, especially in the north and west, and they will soon litter the ground in their messy manner. And then, before we know it, the air will bite our lungs as we breathe it in and we will all too soon be complaining that we wish it were summer once again.

Brunch has always been a favorite and fascinating meal to serve. The meal that traditionally comes after breakfast but before lunch (yes, I know that I’m being a touch elementary, but you will survive) is the perfect platform for “anything goes” cooking.

That is why steaks are as plentiful on a brunch menu as are French toast and Eggs Benedict.

Full-scale lunch specials are often tweaked and varied to include an egg here or some cereal crust there, all to make them more akin to the menu du jour. And when all is said and done, fried eggs on vegetable hash will serve you well on your next brunch menu.

It served me well when I made it. Of course, there was no lumberjacking or building afterwards, but it was good just the same. And so was the afternoon of watching movies on the couch.

Breakfast Hash

Per serving

2 medium fresh eggs

Butter and olive oil, as needed to fry eggs

2 ounces sweet potato, large dice

1 ounces Yuca root, large dice (central core removed)

1 ounces Fingerling potato, quartered

1/2 tomatillo, quartered

1 ounces red onion, julienne

stock or white wine, as needed

vegetable Demi-Glace (reference for a good homemade version)

1 sprig fresh thyme

diced ham (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

fresh white bread (1 slice)

• Bring a pot of salt water to a boil and turn down to a simmer

• Add sweet potato, yucca, potato, fingerling, tomatillo and red onion, and cook until tender, maybe 3-4 minutes

• Remove from water and cool if you do not plan to use them immediately

• In a frying pan, heat your choice of clarified butter, olive oil or a combination of both until very hot

• Add the vegetables and cook to brown quickly, ensuring that they do not burn

• When you have a nice crust on the vegetables, deglaze the pan with a splash of stock or wine

• Immediately add the vegetable demi-glace and coat the vegetables

• Add the thyme and ham (optional) and cook for two more minutes and then pull off the heat

• The hash will hold for about half an hour, so that gives you plenty of time to fry your eggs

• To fry the eggs, heat some oil in a fry pan

• Crack your eggs into a bowl and pour them into the fry pan from the bowl. This ensures that the eggs that make it into the pan are whole and don’t have broken yolks

• Fry until at the temperature of your liking (sunny-side up is pictured, but unless you are using pasteurized eggs, it is not advisable)  

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