Brunch is possibly my favourite ever mealtime. As much for the types of dishes usually served up (eggs, pancakes, lashings of crispy bacon) as for the time of day, day of the week and the whole laissez-faire feeling it invokes. Not sprightly enough for breakfast, but with too hearty an appetite to wait for lunch and best served up on a weekend accompanied by proper steaming coffee, freshly squeezed juice and the company of loved ones. It also reminds me of a place dear to my heart, New York City.
From my groaning stack of cook-books, my trusty Lazy Brunch contains some wonders and it is from Simon Rimmer’s New York smoked salmon hash (p.50) that I created this particular Saturday morning treat. The original recipe happens to be in a section named ‘treating your girlfriend’, which I’m all for, but I’m happy to take the reins on my version.
Serves 2 hungry/hungover brunchers
- 2 medium-sized potatoes (~300g)
- 6 rashers of bacon
- 4 eggs
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed (or granules if you can’t be bothered)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp double-concentrate tomato puree
- chives (dried can substitute fresh, I’m not fussy)
- ground black pepper
- a splash of Worcester sauce
What you do is:
1. Get the potatoes on the go. Don’t worry about peeling them – give them a good scrub and chop them into small chunks, about 2cm square cubes. Drop them into salted boiling water and simmer for about 12-15 minutes. Don’t over-do them – you’ll be frying them in a minute – you want the potato equivalent of al-dente, or they’ll fall apart in the hash pan.
2. Once they’re on the boil, grill your bacon. Keep an eye on it, turning as you go. Don’t crisp it to a cinder – just grill until it starts to brown, usually around 6-8 minutes. Remove the bacon and carefully shred the rashers into small pieces – scissors work wonders here.
3. Next get your eggs ready to go, via the Delia method. Put a wide, deep pan on the heat and fill up to about an inch with boiled water from the kettle. As soon you see the bubbles start to appear on the base of the pan, work quickly to drop your eggs into the water and set the timer for exactly 1 minute. When it beeps, turn the heat off immediately, leave them in the pan and set your timer for 8 minutes (10 if you like them well done)… leaving you to get on with the hash.
4. Take your potatoes off the heat and drain into a colander.
5. Splash some oil into a frying pan and heat for a minute, then add your onions and garlic and sweat them for 2-3 minutes.Turn up the heat and add in your potatoes, mixing them in with the tomato puree, paprika seasoning and chives, stirring them around every 30 seconds or so, allowing the potato bits to gently brown without burning.
6. After 3 minutes or so add in your bacon and season with some black pepper, continuing to stir through the hash while it browns for a final couple of minutes.
7. Divide your mixture between two plates (if all has gone to plan, just as your egg timer dings). Remove the eggs with a slotted metal spoon, topping each hash serving with two eggs, a grind of black pepper, a sprinkling of chives and some Worcester sauce.