Huge brunch spectacular ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

07 March 2007

Huge brunch spectacular

Sunday was Big Food Event day this weekend. Normally food is not that big a deal, really, although we obviously like both the cooking and eating of it, but not this time.

AM: huge brunch spectacular.
PM: huge dinner spectacular.
It was like that.

Technically, we didn't have huge brunch spectacular until about 12:30, since I had to go to the dentist first thing in the morning, but it was brunch nonetheless. Brunch is perhaps the best thing to do with a Sunday. I made us huge plates of scrambled eggs and hashbrowns, and a frenchpress pot of coffee. Coffee is pretty rare at our house; brunch is almost the only time we ever have it. It's brunch! You must have coffee. So I cooked, and John came down and made a huge pile of toast, and we poured Bushmills into our coffee to see if we wanted Irish coffee, which we decided we didn't. We drank it nonetheless.

I've been trying to make a decent pan of hashbrowns for ages. I haven't ever been able to make decent ones, although homefries are achieveable. Usually I end up with a plate of grey, oily mush, as opposed to a plate of crispy, peppery, browned potato. Not this time, however. I had some tricks up my sleeve.


waxy potatoes
olive oil and butter
salt and pepper
optional: garlic

First, grate the potatoes. I used the biggest hole of our box grater. This was a little too fine of a texture for authentic diner hashbrowns, but oh well. We had two big red potatoes for two people, but this is obviously very easy to multiply. Also, if you like garlic, you may want to mince up a couple cloves to add to the potato.

Stick the potato in a colander, rinse it, and squeeze it to get out as much starch and water as possible. Then parboil it for about five minutes, to reduce the time frying later. Rinse it one more time and let it drain. Finally, wrap it in a towel and press to get even more water out. Yay: dry potato. Trick #1.

To fry, heat your pan to medium high. Once the pan is hot, add a lump of butter and some olive oil. When the butter is melted and everything is hot, tip in the potato, garlic, and a good dose of salt and pepper. Flatten things with your spatula for flat potato-cakey action. Then try to cook the whole mess as fast and hot as you can without either burning or moving it, so as to achieve the correct golden-brown hash brown crust. Don't move anything until you want to turn the business over. I know it's hard. You must resist the temptation to stir things around. Trick #2.

After 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your stove, your hashbrowns should have developed the correct crust on the bottom. Do your best to flip over the entire potato lump, keeping things as intact as possible. This did not work so much for me, but I still achieved some golden browniness.

When the hashbrowns were verging on done, I made the eggs. Scrambled eggs are easy, especially if you don't care that much about how fluffy you get them. I Could have bothered to stir the eggs nicely for the entire cooking time, but I didn't. Oh well. They were plenty delicious anyway.

You know how to make scrambled eggs.

salt and pepper
some parsley (yes.)

Crack the eggs into a bowl or pitcher. Add a little salt and a lot of pepper. Mix it all together with a fork. Then heat up your pan, melt some butter, and pour in the eggs. Throw some parsley on top of the eggs if you want. Stir it up and cook until the eggs achieve your desired degree of stability. I like them as hard as possible without browning and rubberizing. Eat instantly, with your now-done hashbrowns; eggs are only good while they're hot.

Then there was

Make it. Add Bushmills or not at your leisure. Drink it.


Put four pieces of bread in toaster oven; toast; butter. Eat quickly, while it's hot. Repeat until you run out of bread.

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