Hash, as a breakfast category, has never been entirely appealing to me. It seems somehow too pedestrian, for the work it entails. Too quotidien, maybe. If I’m going to haul out the cast iron pan, I want something that, frankly, looks a little sexier. I’ve had short affairs with corned beef hash, and red flannel hash, but in general, I’m just not a hash-lover. I wouldn’t have said that before, anyway.
Last weekend, we went to Joe and Hannah’s house for brunch. Someone mentioned hash, in an off-hand, uncelebratory way. “There’s hash, too,” someone said. Like, “Oh, yeah. The milk’s in the fridge.” I gave a little internal shrug. Hash happens, I thought.
I was, quite simply, unprepared to like it so much. When we sat down, the table groaned under a giant pan of the stuff – sweet and russet potatoes, chopped and browned until crisp outside and soft in the center, intertwined with shards of bacon and caramelized onion, cushioned by little throw pillows of goat cheese. I had one helping, then a second. I stared into the pot, wondering how I’d lived this long without making hash myself.
Our kids played. We drank more coffee. A few hours later, I picked up the serving spoon, and scooped the rest of the hash straight into my mouth, afraid that if I didn’t work fast enough, someone might want to share.
Saturday morning, a week later, I sizzled up some bacon, and browned the taters in the leftover fat, along with onions, garlic and thyme. I snuggled everything into bowls with goat cheese. Then, on a whim, we fried eggs, and draped them over the top (sunny side-up for Jim, over-easy for me, so I could share with Graham more neatly). There was nothing fancy, or especially beautiful about it, but the flavors – those sweet soft potatoes, with earthy thyme, salty bacon, tangy goat cheese, and that unctuous egg – oh goodness, those flavors.
And that’s that. I’m a hash convert. I sort of feel like I need to write an apology to all the hashes I’ve ignored on menus over the years, but I have a feeling future ordering trends will prove my buy-in.
Joe’s Two-Potato Hash with Goat Cheese and Bacon (PDF)
Brown sweet and russet potatoes, onions, garlic, and thyme, stir in cooked bacon and goat cheese, and what do you get? Topped with a fried egg, quite possibly the world’s best breakfast.
TIME: 45 minutes
MAKES: 4 servings
4 thick slices bacon (I used uncured applewood-smoked), chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional, may be needed if your bacon isn’t that greasy)
1 Russet potato (about 3/4 pound), chopped into 1/2” pieces
1 sweet potato (about 3/4 pound), chopped into 1/2” pieces
4 eggs, cooked to your liking
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Heat a large, heavy skillet (such as cast iron) over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Add the onion and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, stir to combine, then scoot the onion mixture to the perimeter of the pan. (Here, if the pan seems dry, swirl the olive oil onto the center of the pan.) Add the potatoes to the center, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, undisturbed, until the potatoes have browned on the bottom. Stir the mixture together, cover, and cook another 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are browned and cooked through.
Return the bacon to the pan and cover for a minute or so, to heat the bacon through again. (Here’s a good time to cook the eggs.) Scoop the hash onto plates, sprinkle with goat cheese, and serve hot, topped with eggs.