Monday, November 25, 2013

Sea Scallops with Saffron Potatoes and Orange-Meyer Lemon Salsa

I have go-to cookbooks for different purposes, different types of dishes, or different times of year. For instance every year when my birthday is approaching, the book I turn to for special dishes for celebrating with flavors that I love is Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin published in 2008. It would be an understatement to say that I was a little excited when I learned she was releasing a new book. The A.O.C. Cookbook appeared at the end of last month, and I received a review copy. In a lot of ways, this new book feels like a continuation of Sunday Suppers. The seasonality, style of cooking, and flavors are consistent, but this time rather than menus for meals, the dishes are organized by starters, mains, vegetables, and desserts. The recipes are based on the menu from Goin’s restaurant A.O.C. which focuses on small plates, but in the book, the savory recipes are written to serve six as full courses or appetizers. Each section of the book is divided by season so you can turn to the appropriate time of year for what’s fresh and available at the markets. Also, in this book, Goin’s business partner, Caroline Styne offers wine pairing suggestions for every dish. And, there’s a cheese guide with descriptions of every type ever served at A.O.C. It was interesting to read that Goin has learned from her fans over the years. She knows that some cooks prefer simpler, streamlined recipes and others enjoy a bit of a challenge. In the headnotes, she mentions when a recipe fits that latter category so you know what to expect. I’ve flagged several pages including the ones for Dandelion and Roasted Carrot Salad with Black Olives and Ricotta Salata; Black Bass with Fennel Puree, Winter Citrus, and Green Olives in Green Harissa; Grilled Quail with Couscous, Walnuts, and Pomegranate Salsa; Turmeric-Spiced Root Vegetables with Kaffir Lime Yogurt and Mint Chutney; Torchio with Kabocha Squash, Radicchio, Walnuts, and Taleggio; and Ricotta Cheesecake with Dried Fruit Compote and Walnut Biscotti. And, those are just a few of the fall and winter dishes. 

I’ve tried two items from the book so far. The Butterscotch Pot de Creme with Salted Cashew Cookies was a comfort-food kind of dessert at its best. Sadly, butterscotch is never particularly photogenic, but it is delicious especially paired with a crunchy, nutty cookie. The second dish I made was the Sea Scallops with Saffron Potatoes and Orange-Meyer Lemon Salsa. This was a classic Suzanne Goin dish to my mind due to the lemon zest and herb seasoning applied to the scallops before cooking and the bright-tasting, citrus salsa. I took a couple of liberties with the recipe, and you can see the original version from the book below. Rather than skewering the scallops on trimmed rosemary sprigs and grilling, I seared the scallops in a hot pan. Also, even though blood oranges had appeared at the grocery store the week before I went looking for them, on the day I needed them there were none. I used Cara Cara navels instead which aren’t as deep red in color and are less bitter. It was the best option available, but I wish I could have used blood oranges. For the potatoes, I used fingerlings that I cut into thick chunks. They braised on top of the stove in a bath of saffron, water, and olive oil with onion, and chile de arbol. They absorbed all those lovely flavors while cooking until tender. The plate was assembled with potatoes topped with arugula, then the scallops, and finished with the citrus salsa on top. 

This dish was delightful in every way. The potatoes were both literally and figuratively the foundation. Earthy and mild with hints of saffron and onion in each bite, they countered the bitter, peppery greens while the scallops were sweet bites of the sea. And, the salsa punctuated everything just as it should. It’s going to be a lot of fun to cook from this book from season to season. 

Atlantic Sea Scallops with Saffron Potatoes and Blood Orange–Meyer Lemon Salsa 
Excerpted from The A.O.C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin. Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Goin. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. 

I love the colors of this Sicilian- inspired dish—the deep red, orange, and yellow tones of the salsa spooned over those white scallops and over the mounds of sienna- hued potatoes remind me of an Italian vacation. I was never a big fan of scallops until I tasted the super- sweet, succulent, meaty East Coast diver- caught ones we are lucky enough to get from Steve Connolly in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Seek them out—they are so worth it! This preparation would also work beautifully with halibut, sole, or other white flaky fish. 

NOTE Mexican diver-caught scallops are a good alternative to the Atlantic sea scallops. 

6 branches rosemary, about 7 to 8 inches long 
18 Atlantic sea scallops, each about 2 ounces 
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest 
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots 
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar 
2 Meyer lemons 
3 large blood oranges 
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1 tablespoon sliced mint 
1 teaspoon saffron threads 
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks 
1 cup diced red onion 
1 tablespoon thyme leaves 
1 chile de arbol, crumbled 
2 ounces young dandelion greens or arugula 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Remove the rosemary leaves from the branches except for 2 inches at the bottom of each. Cut the leafless end of each branch at an angle with a sharpknife to make a point and coarsely chop the picked rosemary leaves. Season the scallops with the lemon zest and 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped rosemary. Skewer three scallops onto each rosemary branch. Cover and refrigerate. Place the shallots, champagne vinegar, and a healthy pinch of salt in a small bowl, and let sit for 5 minutes. 

Cut away the stem and blossom ends from the Meyer lemons. Stand the lemons on one end, and cut them vertically into 1/8-inch slices (keeping the rinds on). Stack the slices in small piles on a cutting board, and cut them lengthwise into 1/8-inch thick matchsticks. Line up the matchsticks, and cut them into 1/8-inch cubes. Cut away the stem and blossom ends from two blood oranges. Place the oranges cut- side down on a cutting board. Following the contour of the fruit with your knife, remove the peel and cottony white pith, working from top to bottom, and rotating the fruit as you go. Then hold the oranges in your hand, one at a time, and carefully slice between the membranes and the fruit to release the segments in between. Add the diced lemon, blood- orange segments, their juices, and the juice of the remaining orange to the shallot mixture. Stir in 1/2 cup olive oil, the mint, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. 

Light the grill 30 to 40 minutes before cooking, and take the scallops out of the refrigerator. Place the saffron in a small bowl, and pour 1 cup warm water over it. 

Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat for 1 minute. Swirl in 1/4 cup olive oil, and wait 1 minute. Add the onion, thyme, chile, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grindings of black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium, and sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is translucent. Turn up the heat to medium- high. Add the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and season with 1 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of pepper. Don’t stir the pan for a couple of minutes while the potato edges sear in the hot oil and form a nice crust. Lift and tilt the pan to distribute the oil evenly. After 3 to 4 minutes, firmly shake the pan to loosen the potatoes. Turn with a wooden spoon and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring to coat with the onions. Add the saffron water. Stir to combine, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely glazed and tender when poked with a paring knife. If at any point the liquid starts to dry up, add a little more water. The saffron potatoes should be glazed, neither dry nor soupy. Turn off heat, and put the lid halfway on. When the coals are broken down, red, and glowing, brush the scallops with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and season with salt and pepper on both sides. 

Place the skewered scallops on the grill, and cook for 4 minutes, rotating once to create crosshatch marks and a browned crust. Flip the scallops, move them to a cooler side of the grill, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until they’re medium-rare. Spoon the hot saffron potatoes into the center of six dinner plates, scatter the dandelion, and place the scallop skewers on top. Spoon the blood orange-Meyer lemon salsa over the scallops. 

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Genmaicha Granola Bars

With perfect timing, in the midst of the vegetable love I mentioned, I got to read a review copy of Feast by Sarah Copeland. It’s a book devoted to fresh and fabulous vegetarian dishes with just a few, minor seafood appearances. And, the influences for these dishes come from around the world with tacos, tempura, gulyas, romesco, kimchi, curry, pizzas, crepes, and more. The book was mentioned back in April in Living magazine when the Barley Risotto with Radishes, Swiss Chard, and Preserved Lemon recipe was shown. I added that page to my to-try stack of recipes at the time. Then, when I recently saw the recipe in the book, I finally had to make it. The barley starches blend with the stock as it slowly cooks, and the radishes become tender and mild as they braise. Swiss chard and bright, citrusy sorrel add fresh flavors, and the preserved lemon adds a punch. It’s a clean-tasting dish that’s filling at the same time. Some other dishes I’d like to try include the Sweet Potato and Kale Tortilla Soup, Pea Guacamole and Seared Halloumi Soft Tacos, and the Indonesian Rice Bowl. I didn’t want to risk overdoing it with vegetable propaganda, so I’m showing a sweet recipe from the Breakfast and Brunch chapter. Granola bars are one of those things that always get my attention. I love making every version I ever see, but I was especially drawn to this one because of the genmaicha tea in the ingredient list. Copeland writes that the tea “adds depth, a malty richness, and a caffeine boost.” 

Interestingly, there’s no butter or oil in this recipe and no refined sugar either. Everything is bound together by a mix of pureed dates, maple syrup, and honey. I made one substitution because as I began measuring ingredients, I discovered I didn’t have millet although I was sure I did. I used amaranth instead. So, oats, amaranth, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and I used black sesame seeds, cinnamon, and salt were combined. Toasted pecans and almonds were coarsely chopped in the food processor and added to the oat mixture. Pitted dates were then pulsed to form a paste, and maple syrup, honey, and vanilla were added and pulsed. The date puree was added to the oats with genmaicha tea leaves, and the mixture was stirred until well-combined. The granola was baked until brown at the edges and then allowed to cool. I found it easier to cut bars after chilling the pan for a few hours. 

The bars had a great mix of crunchy seeds and nuts and chewiness from the date puree. The flavor from the tea was very subtle, but I liked having a little green tea caffeine in each bar. Now that I’m looking back at the breakfast chapter, I’m marking the pages for Avocado-Cheese Arepas and Mustard Greens, Cheddar, and Farm Egg Breakfast Pizza. I won’t be running out of great recipe ideas for vegetables any time soon. 

Genmaicha Granola Bars
Recipe reprinted with publisher's permission from Feast.

Many granola bars masquerade as health food when, in fact, dozens of them are anything but, laced with sugar and chocolate chips. The granola bar of your dreams, though, can be chock-full of fast energy and lasting nutrition like this one—loaded with nuts and seeds, like almonds and sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds. Millet adds incredible crunch, and naturally sweet dates and maple syrup hold it all together. Genmaicha—green tea leaves with roasted brown rice—adds depth, a malty richness, and a caffeine boost. If you can’t find genmaicha or simply don’t do caffeine, skip it. These granola bars will win fans far and wide either way. 

Makes 8 TO 10 Bars 

2 cups/170 g old-fashioned rolled oats 
1/2 cup/60 g millet 
1/3 cup/30 g raw sunflower seeds 
2 tbsp raw unseasoned pumpkin seeds (pepitas) 
1 tbsp sesame seeds 
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp fine sea salt 
1/3 cup/50 g toasted pecans 
1/3 cup/50 g toasted skin-on almonds 
 Packed 1 cup/170 g pitted Medjool dates 
1/3 cup/75 ml Grade B maple syrup, plus more as needed 
1/4 cup/60 ml honey or brown rice syrup 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
1 tbsp genmaicha tea leaves 

Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C/gas 3. Line an 8-in/20-cm square baking pan with parchment paper so that there are overlapping flaps. 

Stir together the oats, millet, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. 

Pulse the pecans and almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped (it’s okay if some nuts are coarsely ground and others a little powdery). Stir into the oat mixture. 

Pulse the dates in a food processor until a thick paste forms. Add the maple syrup, honey, and vanilla and pulse until a puree forms. Scrape out the puree with a rubber spatula and stir into the oat mixture. 

Add the genmaicha tea leaves and continue stirring (your clean hands work best) until the oats and nuts are sticky and coated with the puree. If the mixture doesn’t clump together easily, add up to 1 tbsp of maple syrup. 

Transfer the granola to the prepared baking pan and press into a smooth, even layer. Bake until just starting to brown around the edges, about 25 minutes. Transfer to the counter to cool slightly in the baking pan, about 15 minutes. Grab the flaps of parchment paper, lift out the whole batch, and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into eight to ten bars while still warm. Let them cool completely and serve at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. 

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chard, Ricotta, and Saffron Cakes

Rather than saying “eat your vegetables,” what I really want to say is “make the most of the beautiful, delicious vegetables that are growing right now.” The tables at the farm stands and farmers’ markets are overflowing. The greens are back, root vegetables are here, and we’re lucky enough to still be getting some summery things like corn, eggplant, and the very last of the second-season tomatoes. I’ve been so excited about all the pretty vegetables lately; I’m even considering skipping the turkey for our Thanksgiving menu. I’m imagining a feast of all vegetables. There’s always something stunning in our CSA box too, and I’ve been grabbing my copy of Vegetable Literacy for inspiration for using it all. A couple of weeks ago, I opened our box to find just-picked, stunning radishes and baby turnips. The greens, still attached, were perfectly fresh. I made the Finely Shaved Radish, Turnip, and Carrot Salad with Manchego and Spicy Greens from the book. The radish and turnip tops were sliced into a chiffonade and tossed with the thin discs of root vegetables cut on a mandoline. The salad was dressed with lemon and olive oil, topped with sprouts, and gilded with shaved Manchego. Turnips aren’t always an easy sell, but when they’re this fresh and mixed into such a bright, flavorful salad, they don’t last long. With our next CSA delivery, I found a fetching bunch of big, red Swiss chard leaves that deserved a good recipe for them. A quick look at Vegetable Literacy turned up little, savory pancakes made with chopped chard, ricotta, and saffron. It sounded perfect. 

The chard leaves were cut from the stems, washed, and cooked with just the water clinging to the leaves until wilted. The leaves were drained, left to cool, and then squeezed to remove excess water. I held onto the stems and used them as well. A couple of pinches of saffron were covered with two tablespoons of boiling water and left to steep for a few minutes. Meanwhile, flour, salt and baking powder were combined in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, ricotta, parmesan, milk, and eggs were whisked together before olive oil and the saffron were added. The dry ingredients were whisked into the ricotta mixture, and then the drained and squeezed chard leaves were finely chopped and added to the batter. The batter was dropped by the spoonful into a hot skillet with a small bit of olive oil. You want to cook the cakes over medium heat to allow enough time for them to cook through before getting too brown on one side. They cooked for about three minutes per side. They could be garnished in all sorts of ways including dollops of sour cream or yogurt and diced pieces of roasted beets or micro greens as Deborah Madison suggested. I had some creme fraiche on hand, so I used that for a topping. Also, we had received some fresh corn that I cut from the cob and sauteed in browned butter. After sauteing the corn, I sauteed the chopped chard stems keeping them separated to prevent the red stems from staining the yellow corn. Both were used on top of the creme fraiche. Last, I fried some sage leaves from my herb garden in the brown butter to add one more color to the presentation. 

These chard cakes were rich and tasty with the ricotta and eggs, and I always love the flavor of saffron. However, these would still be great without saffron. I can’t wait to see what the farms deliver next week. And, I can’t wait to find the right recipes for using it all. I just have to stop myself from bringing home more vegetables than we can eat. 

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Classic Chocolate Brownies (70%)

These might look like ordinary, run-of-the-mill brownies, but I have to tell you so many things about them. First, the recipe is from Alice Medrich’s latest book, Seriously Bitter Sweet, and I received a review copy. This book is an update to Bittersweet from 2003. It’s a new look at using chocolate in baking now that so many varieties are available and cacao percentages are clearly marked. What used to be called semisweet and bittersweet have lost meaning now that we can purchase 54%, 60%, 75%, 90%, and just about any other number of cacao percentage chocolate. This new book presents recipes tested and perfected for specific ranges of cacao percentages in chocolate, and there are options for changing the formulas to use different types of chocolates. With higher percentage chocolates, less is needed but you’ll need to add more sugar and possibly butter. It’s fascinating to see how adaptable the recipes are. Also, since vintage recipes were written for semisweet or bittersweet chocolate which tended to be in the range of 54% to 60% cacao, the formulas which are clearly explained in a separate chapter can be used to update any recipe with specific types of chocolate. There are also conversions for using cocoa powder rather than chocolate. So, the book offers endless possibilities with mousses, truffles, cakes, souffles, sauces, tarts, pies, and cookies that can easily be adapted to use whichever type of chocolate you prefer. I got distracted by a couple of the cacao nib recipes that I look forward to trying like the Nibby Espresso Cookies and the Cocoa Bean Cream Almond Roulade filled with a cacao nib-infused whipped cream. There’s even a section for savory dishes made with chocolate such as the Wild Mushroom Ragout with unsweetened chocolate in the sauce. But, before trying any of those, I baked some classic brownies. 

The recipe for these brownies, as you see below, is written for a New Classic version. The New Classic involves baking for only 20 minutes and then immediately setting the brownie pan into an ice bath until cool. This is to produce the fudgiest, gooeyist brownies. I chose to go the slightly more cakey route by following the Classic variation included in the notes below, and I used 70% chocolate. There’s a slightly adjusted note for using 60% chocolate in the notes as well. See what I was saying about this book? It’s fascinating, and the possibilities are endless. So, with the Classic 70% variation, the oven was preheated to 350 degrees F, six and a half ounces of chocolate was used, one tablespoon less of butter was used, and one-quarter cup less sugar was used than for unsweetened chocolate. And, I opted to add toasted, chopped pecans. In the intro to the brownie section of the book, Medrich explains that through testing, it was discovered that a glossier top is produced when the chocolate and butter mixture is allowed to get hot, up to 150 degrees F, when melting. Then, when sugar and cold eggs are added, vigorous beating with a wooden spoon contributes to the final texture. One more trick is to chill the batter in the brownie pan for several hours before baking for the glossiest top and chewiest texture. Even though these brownies baked at a slightly lower temperature for slightly longer and didn’t get the ice bath cooling technique, they were still pretty fabulously fudgy with a nicely glossy top. 

I do tend to appreciate, i.e. geek out about, cookbooks with lots of precision and detail, and this one fits that description. The how’s and why’s of ingredients and techniques are delightfully well-explained. And, they’re being explained by someone who has not only witnessed and worked through the changes in the world of chocolate but has influenced the arrival of better quality chocolates through her creations. If you like baking with chocolate, you’ll really like this book. 

New Classic Chocolate Brownies 
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from Seriously Bitter Sweet by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. 

Makes 16 large or 25 smaller brownies 
This recipe makes brownies that are crusty on top and wonderfully gooey within. They are baked at a high temperature for a short period of time, then cooled in an ice bath. Also known as the Steve Ritual (as in Steve Ritual Brownies), this crazy, wonderful method was discovered by Portland educational researcher Steve Klein during his college days; it now has a considerable Internet following. 

Ingredients 4 ounces (115 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped 
8 tablespoons (115 grams/1 stick) unsalted butter 
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 cold large eggs 
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour 
2/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces/65 grams) walnut or pecan pieces (optional) 

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the bottom and all four sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil. 

2. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. 

3. Stir frequently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. 

4. Remove the bowl from the skillet. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until the first one is incorporated before adding the next. Stir in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula until the batter forms a shiny, cohesive mass and comes away from the sides of the bowl. It is important that the batter pull together and away from the bowl, so don’t stop stirring until it does. Stir in the nuts, if using. Scrape the batter into the lined pan and spread it evenly. 

5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. The surface of the brownies will look dry, but a toothpick inserted in the center will come out quite gooey. 

6. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a roasting pan or large baking pan with ice cubes and about 3/4 inch of water. 

7. When the brownies are ready, remove the pan from the oven and immediately set it in the ice bath. Take care not to splash water on the brownies. Let the brownies cool. 8. Remove the pan from the ice bath, lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares. (The brownies can be stored, airtight, for 2 to 3 days.) 

Classic Chocolate Brownies: For cakier brownies, bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some thick, gooey batter still clinging to it. Omit the ice bath; cool on a rack. 

Classic 70% Brownies: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare an ice bath for New Classic Brownies, or skip the ice bath and preheat the oven to 350°F as for Classic Brownies. Combine 6 1/2 ounces (185 grams) 66% to 72% chocolate, 7 tablespoons (100 grams) butter, and 1 cup (200 grams) sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Proceed as directed for either New Classic or Classic Chocolate Brownies. 

Classic 60% Brownies: This recipe produces brownies with a beautifully glossy, crackled crust. The batter will be stiffer than you are used to and may require longer and more vigorous stirring to form a smooth, cohesive mass. 

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare an ice bath for New Classic Brownies, or skip the ice bath and preheat the oven to 350°F as for Classic Brownies. Combine 10 ounces (285 grams) 54% to 62% chocolate, 5 tablespoons (70 grams) butter, and 2/3 cup (135 grams) sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Proceed as directed for either New Classic or Classic Chocolate Brownies. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Brussels Sprout Hash

An egg is probably the world’s most versatile ingredient. And, thinking of all the things you can do with whole eggs, yolks, whites, quail eggs, and duck eggs, I think an egg might also be the world’s most delightful ingredient. Lara Ferroni’s latest book, Put an Egg on It, supports those claims and offers delicious uses of eggs of all sizes. I recently received a review copy. She writes that her fascination with topping all sorts of dishes with an egg started when she encountered New Mexico-style stacked enchiladas topped with a fried egg. But, you’ll find more than just fried eggs as the crowning touch in this book. First, there are cooking instructions for the basics including soft-, medium-, and hard-boiled; sunny-side up and over easy or hard; scrambling; poaching; pickling; and meringue. Of course, there are great suggestions for adding a sunny-side up to things like Salsa Roja Chilaquiles, Kimchi Fried Rice, and the Egg-Topped Deep-Dish Pizza. And, then there are things like Blasted Cauliflower with chopped hard-boiled eggs, Roasted Eggplant Puree with Harissa and grated hard-boiled egg, and Creamy Green Goddess Wedge salad with shredded hard-boiled eggs. All of the recipes are fun and very approachable whether for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert, or cocktails. Speaking of fun, the meringue “eggs” are faux fried eggs made with a dollop of orange curd, and the Maple Meringue filled Doughnut Holes have been calling my name since I first flipped through the book. Also right away, I was drawn to the breakfast bowls each topped with an egg because they look a lot like what I usually prepare for weekend brunches. A few pages later, I came upon the Brussels Sprout Hash. I don’t know why I’d never thought to make a hash of Brussels sprouts before. I’ve made hash with just about every other vegetable which left me feeling silly for overlooking Brussels sprouts. They’re so pretty when they’re thinly sliced, I couldn’t wait to get chopping.

This makes for a low-maintenance brunch dish since everything is cooked in one skillet. First, a sprig of rosemary was fried in olive oil. Our rosemary plants have been taking over our yard thanks to the recent rain, so I love getting to snip off sprigs every chance I get. The rosemary fries for just a minute and is then set aside to cool. Minced onion and garlic were added to the pan next and cooked until softened. The fried rosemary leaves were pulled from the stem, chopped, and added to the skillet. Next, shredded Brussels sprouts were added to the cooked onion and garlic and sauteed until tender and starting to take on some color on the edges. Then, it was time for the eggs. Little wells were scooped into the Brussels sprouts, and an egg was cracked into each. The skillet was covered, and the eggs were left to cook for a few minutes. 

Brussels Sprout Hash will now take a spot in my rotation of brunch options, but it would also make for a quick and easy dinner meal. With so many different ideas for incorporating eggs into dishes, I’ll be grabbing this book for inspiration for meals at any time of day. Or instead of planning a meal, a cocktail like the Lime Meringue Margarita might be the next recipe I have to try. 

Brussels Sprout Hash 
Recipe reprinted with publisher's permission from Put an Egg on It.

If brussels sprouts had been served this way when I was a kid, instead of being little balls of gray, bitter mush, I might not have missed out on twenty-something years of one of my favorite fall vegetables. How sad! 

Makes 4 servings 

2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil 
1 (5-inch) sprig fresh rosemary 
1⁄4 cup chopped onion 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
4 cups shredded brussels sprouts 
4 eggs 
Salt and freshly ground pepper 

Heat the oil in a medium, lidded cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When it’s shimmering, add the rosemary. Cook for about 1 minute, then remove the sprig, setting it aside on a plate to cool. Add the onion and garlic and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the sprouts and increase the heat to medium-high. Chop up a bit of the fried rosemary leaves (discarding the woody stem) and add them to the pan. Stirring frequently, cook until the sprouts are golden on the edges, about 5 minutes. 

Use a large spoon to create 4 wells in the sprouts and carefully pour an egg into each. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the eggs are set. 

To serve, using a large spoon, carefully scoop from under each egg, gathering a bit of the sprout hash as you go. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

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