(This article was first published in the Park Slope Food Coop's Linewaiter's Gazette, Volume EE, No. 4, p. 10.)
Working from home during a major snowstorm this winter, I made myself a good brunch from odds and ends and wanted to share the ideas with you. Try this some quiet winter morning when you are at home with tasks interruptable by trips to the stove. These recipes serve two, but you may want to eat something extra if you will be shoveling snow.
Whoops Rosemary Salt
On a recent trip to the Park Slope Food Coop I bought fresh rosemary and a bag of salt, which landed at the bottom of my carry sack and became friends when the salt bag split. I saved the salt from the bottom of the sack and am keeping it in a jar on my kitchen counter. It's a nice addition to almost any savory winter cooking. Try it yourself with half a stem of fresh rosemary stirred into a quarter cup of salt and save in a sealed container to let the flavors develop.
Mesclun with Bottom of the Mustard Jar Salad Dressing
Take a mild-flavored mustard – you know, that jar in the back of your fridge with a teaspoon or so of mustard at the bottom that's been sitting around way too long. Add one minced garlic clove, a tablespoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of a good olive oil. Put the jar lid back on and shake vigorously until blended. (If you have a fresh lemon, add a teaspoon of its grated rind too.) If the mustard is really dried out, reconstitute with a teaspoon of hot water before you add the other ingredients. I used a Maine Maple Champagne mustard from Stonewall Kitchens.
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (slightly wrinkled are OK) 1 tablespoon olive oil1 tablespoon walnut oil 1/4 tsp Whoops Rosemary Salt (see above)
Boil the potatoes until they are barely done. Heat the oils in a nonstick pan over medium heat and add potatoes. Russet potatoes are not good for hash browns—they fall apart too easily. But you can make it work. Just don’t stir them. Let them sit for a few minutes. Turn them over gently with a fork, one by one, as each side browns to your liking (this is the meditative part). Use any remaining oil in the pan to coat the uncooked sides. After about 15 minutes the potatoes should be nicely done on all sides. Remove potatoes from pan, leaving some oil behind, and put them in a bowl to keep warm. Turn up heat to high, add cherry tomatoes and salt. Cook until cherry tomatoes are a bit puckered and start to split. Add cherry tomatoes to potatoes and stir gently to combine.
Fill a pot with 2” of water and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil. Have two fresh eggs ready, each one cracked into its own small dish. Once water is at a full boil, turn off heat, quickly add a teaspoon of Kosher salt, and then slip in each egg. Put the lid back on the pot and let sit for three minutes. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and gently tilt to pour off water – or blot on top with a paper towel.
To assemble brunch: Toss two servings of mesclun with a teaspoon of the dressing. (You want the greens barely flavored.) Serve each salad in a low bowl or plate, topped with the potato-tomato mix, and a poached egg on top of that. Nice accompaniments are fresh citrus and a hot cup of coffee. And a snow day, of course.