Green Eggs & Potato Skillet for Two
The best food I cook comes from recreating imaginary dishes. I don’t usually know where my cravings spew from, but all of a sudden I’ll be steaming onions in turmeric for tagine, and I’m perfectly happy with the situation. After all, the best long-term way to keep yourself in the kitchen is probably to make what you want, consciously or unconsciously, so that the result is satisfying enough that dirty dishes don’t put you off cooking for weeks to come.
That’s why I look to restaurants less for home-cooking inspiration than for home-cooking breaks and tastes of foods I probably won’t ever make here for lack of skill, deep fryer, or specialty ingredient. I’ll take inspiration where I find it, though, and this dish does come from a delicious upscale diner in Lake Placid called The Breakfast Club. After a couple days of skiing and a lot of unhealthful après ski snacks, I sat down to a late lunch with my family there. On the menu were a series of what the place called röstis, skillets of hash browns topped with eggs and sour cream and your choice of cheese, meat or…vegetables. I chose the vegetables, and in spite of the potatoes and the eggs and the cheese and the sour cream, the satisfying skillet was probably the lightest thing I’d eaten all week. On top of the potatoes sat a diner-y mix of mushrooms, spinach, onions, and tomatoes, and the cooked vegetables mingled with the potatoes and eggs to excellent effect. This was a meal asking to be recreated at home. I do think that any skillet meal feels homey, but this one comes in handy particularly often: it’s dinner for one or brunch for two. And if you own a few skillets, it’s brunch for a dozen.
And, back to that whole unconscious inspiration thing, I ended up cooking this just in time to post for St. Patrick’s Day. While it’s no pre-game green eggs and ham, I hope it’ll let you nod to the holiday even if Guinness and whisky won’t figure in the rest of your day. And, this is a good one to keep around for breakfasts and brunches all spring: the green sauté can derive from whatever you pick up at the market.
- 1 pound red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 leek, white and light green parts sliced
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeds removed and slivered
- 3 Brussels sprouts, slivered
- 4 to 5 ounces fresh spinach
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cumin
- 2 to 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Half an avocado, cut into chunks
- 2 eggs
- Sour cream, for serving
- Cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Cook until a knife pierces them with just a little resistance. Drain. You can do this ahead of time.
- Meanwhile, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a skillet. Add the leeks, celery, and peppers and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts, cook for 2 minutes, then throw in the spinach, and cook just until it’s wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- You can make the veggies and boil the potatoes ahead of time.
- When you’re ready to eat, preheat the oven to 400°F. In an oven-safe skillet (cast iron is great), toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the oregano, paprika, and cumin, and a few pinches of salt. Roast for 30 minutes, until the bottoms have a nice golden crust. Scatter the cheddar around the surface, then pile on the veggie sauté. Bake another 5 minutes, until the veggies are warm and the cheese is melted.
- While that’s happening, poach 2 eggs in a few inches of barely simmering water. (You can also fry them if you’re not a confident poacher.) When the potatoes are ready, scoop the eggs on top, then throw the cubed avocado on too. Eat immediately. Straight from the skillet?