There is something immensely comforting about having breakfast for dinner. I am unable to accurately verbalize why this is, and frankly, I want to keep it that way. In fact, I refrain from having breakfast for dinner too regularly in order to preserve this enigma. Last week, I had my first big exam of grad school, and the night before seemed like an appropriate occasion to indulge in my secret weapon of comfort foods.
Simply eating your usual breakfast food does not qualify as “breakfast for dinner.” To go by this title, it must be something special, like vegetable and potato hash. I like to sauté whatever I am in the mood for (or whatever I have on hand) until it is crisp and browned on the edges. I proceed to melt cheese over it, and top it with an over-medium egg, so the golden glory of the yolk makes it rich and luscious. Below is a description of my most current rendition, however it represents a method, more than an exact recipe.
Vegetable and Potato Hash
§ Sauté about half of an onion and half of a bell pepper, both chopped, in olive oil for about 5-8 minutes, or until they start to soften.
§ Then add one chopped zucchini. Season with Lawry’s seasoning salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes and sauté for a couple of minutes.
§ Add 3 small red bliss potatoes that have been cooked (I microwaved mine) and chopped. Re-season and sauté until potatoes are heated through and the hash starts to become brown and crispy (5-10 minutes). When the hash is close to done, toss with chopped parsley and scallions.
§ Top with shredded cheese (I used Monterey jack) and allow to melt. Meanwhile cook an egg (any style will do, but I personally feel that a runny yolk is mandatory), and when the cheese is melted, top with the egg and enjoy. Hot sauce and additional seasoning are optional.
I have made this has a number of ways in the past, but this was the first time I added zucchini. It was an attempt to increase the vegetable content in order to justify to the blanket of cheese covering the hash. I love zucchini, but I was anxious about using it in the context. Fortunately, my fears did not become realized, and zucchini will definitely play a part in future hash episodes. The scallions were also a new addition as well. I happened to have some in the fridge, and they added a mild oniony flare. In fact, next time I would be more generous with them (I only added two). If I am making any sort of hash brown potato, Lawry’s seasoning salt is mandatory. It reminds me of my oldest brother, Joe, making hash browns from left over baked potatoes on Saturday mornings.
My brother, king of potatoes, also plays into the reason I used pre-cooked potatoes. Growing up, precooked potatoes (usually leftover bakers) were the only potatoes used for hash browns by Joe. Additionally, this will usually give the best results when the potatoes share the stage with other vegetables since raw potatoes have significantly longer cooking times than most vegetables. Also, I abhor undercooked potatoes, so precooking them eliminates the risk of this tragedy. As usual, the parsley is by no means a necessity, but in case you haven’t noticed, I cannot get enough of it. Before eating, I added a drizzle of Sriracha* and some fresh pepper, not only for added taste, but to dress it up a little; a splash of red makes anything more appealing.
*See glossary for definitions.