Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snow Day Part 2

Sometimes, Wednesday morning can feel like Sunday morning.  I’m sure you’re scratching your head, wondering: how is this impossible feat accomplished?  I will tell you.  It’s due to a rare and wonderful circumstance: the second of two snow days consecutive snow days due to sub zero wind chills!  Doesn’t it sound wonderful?  Let me tell you, it is.  I had a weekend in the middle of my week, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

When I woke up on this “Sunday” morning, I felt that I needed to prepare some sort of luxurious breakfast, as opposed to my usual English muffin and hard-boiled egg in a hurry.  The day before, I had purchased some mushrooms.  I was shopping for my roasted chicken dinner (see previous post), but I added the mushrooms to my cart so I could make a mushroom omelet the following morning, based on the unlikely chance that school would be cancelled again.  I was concerned that my presumptuousness about a second snow day would certainly jinx this possibility, but I was wrong.  And in this type of circumstance, I love being wrong.

When I woke up that morning, I decided against an omelet for my leisurely breakfast, and started toying with the idea of a breakfast sandwich.  Vegetarians frequently praise mushrooms as a meat substitute because of their hearty texture and flavor.  I would say there is a distinct possibility that the first veggie burger was actually a grilled portobello mushroom cap on buns.  In light of this, I thought it might work out well to add sautéed mushrooms to a breakfast sandwich with some cheese and an egg.  This is exactly what I did, and I was pleased by the results:  meaty, savory, and satisfying.
First, I sliced up about 5 button mushrooms, and added them to a hot pan with some olive oil.  I know the pictured pan looks a little big for that amount of mushrooms, but they brown much better if they have a little breathing room.  Plus, the bigger pan will allow you to cook your egg in the same pan, and cut back on dirty dishes.  Also, refrain from salting mushrooms until they have browned.  Salt draws out water, so if mushrooms are salted in the beginning, it will bring out extra water, and it will take the mushrooms longer to brown.  (Conversely, it always good to salt onions immediately when you just want to cook them, but not brown them, for the same reason.  When you’re making a soup or sauce, you just want them softened, and salting them immediately will bring out their liquid and prevent them from browning).  When the mushrooms were done, I added a little fresh dill along with the salt and pepper.  The dill is completely optional; I just happened to have it in the fridge, but it could be left out of substituted with another herb. 
Then, I pushed the mushrooms to one side of the pan, added a touch more olive oil and one egg to the pan.  I made my egg over medium (maybe even over medium-well).  For breakfast sandwiches, I don’t like the yoke to be too runny because I want to be able to pick it up and not mess about with a fork and knife.  However, of course cook your egg in whatever way you see fit. 
While the egg was cooking, I toasted one big piece of sour dough, and put a slice of cheese on it while it was still hot.  I used Swiss cheese, but any cheese would do.  I then topped the cheese with the shrooms, then the egg, and last one more slice of cheese, and sprinkled the whole concoction with a little more dill and pepper.  Maybe it sounds like sort of an odd combination, but I thought it was one great big yum, and would encourage anyone with time and mushrooms on their hands to pursue this as a delicious breakfast option.

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