Monday, July 21, 2008
During the week we are all about eating healthy cereal for breakfast. It's cheap, fast, and filling, which are requirements when you lead a busy working life as most people do. When we eat our weekday breakfasts, we pass sections of the Seattle Times back and forth, chewing over the previous day's events and upcoming weather. But when it comes to the weekend, we are all about leisurely breakfasts over the New York Times, which we receive only on weekends. Not only do we eat eggs and read the fancy paper, we have a separate coffee as well. During the week we guzzle a cup of stuff made from cheap pre-ground beans-- the big can we buy on sale at the super for about 5 bucks. It lasts us a couple months. Ugh! Oh well. On weekends we grind beans and sip, often, from our French press.
As for food, Helen is the queen of the "eggers", which are fried eggs (runny yolks, ideally), cheddar cheese, copious amounts of butter (to fry eggs and on the muffins), Crystal hot sauce (the only hot sauce) all squished between a Bay english muffin.
But occasionally I like to whip something up, especially if we have a couple of Russet potatoes lying around. Here are directions for an extremely satisfying and easy to make breakfast which includes two sunny-side up eggs and a potato dish from the classical repetroire, the fabled Rosti.
-Start the potatoes first. The right pan is essential. I used to use teflon. Now I cook exclusively with my two low-carbon steel pans. I can't recommend them enough. Heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Peel two potatoes and grate into a mixing bowl using the large holes on your box grater, as if you were grating cheese. Sprinkle the grated raw potatoes with salt and a few grinds of black pepper and toss well. When the oil is hot but not smoking, use your hands to form a small round cake of potatoes about a half-inch thick in the middle of the pan. They should start to sizzle but not to brown right away. If they don't sizzle, pan is too cold. If they start to brown and crackle too rapidly, you have the opposite problem.
-While this is going on, heat the other pan in the same manner. I cook my eggs using oil since butter will burn. Crack two eggs into second pan and immediately sprinkle salt and grind pepper over eggs (eat your heart out, Harold Mcgee!). The eggs should burble gently in the oil. Same rules apply as with potatoes with regards to heat. It should be "medium". A major challenge of cooking true sunny-side up eggs is to get the egg white coagulated completely without overcooking the yolk, which sets up at a much lower temperature than the white. What restaurants do is stick the entire pan beneath the broiler to cook the eggs from a flame from above as well as from the residual heat from the pan itself below. You can do this. Or you can do what I usually do at home: place a lid over the pan of burbling eggs during the second half of cooking so that steam is trapped, thus cooking the egg.
-Now its time to flip the potatoes. Use a metal spatula to make sure your potato cake is not stuck. It shouldn't be. Give it the old whole pan flip. You can do it! The real way to finish Rosti is to add a pat of whole butter to the pan at this time to brown up the cake during the second half of its cooking. I normally feel too guilty to do this at home.
-By this time, eggs are done and should go onto plate. Slide potatoes onto plate, and Voila!
p.s. I love ketchup, too, but it's not necessary.
What's your favorite homemade breakkie?