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Thursday, January 28, 2010

When You Can't Decide

Last night, I could not decide what to make for dinner.  I wanted Eggs Benedict.  I wanted poached eggs.  I wanted hash, though not the traditional chunky kind of hash. I thought, if I could come up with something that represented all three of these wantings, I would be happy; and came up with this concoction. For the base of the benedict I combined all the components of traditional hash.
I sliced some green bell pepper into rings, grated a peeled potato, onion, and garlic into shreds, and packed them inside the green bell pepper rings. I pan fried them until they were golden on both sides.  I covered the skillet a couple of times to ensure the potatoes were cooked through. They turned out quite good.

I have an egg poacher, but it makes such uniform little poached eggs.  I wanted a more free form look, one that would blanket and sag..  Not so perfect looking.  The vinegar-water simmer has worked for me in the past, so I tried it.  This is the easiest way to poach eggs.  Their texture and consistancy can be better monitored. I  simmered the water with some vinegar as a stabliizer, and gently placed the eggs into the water-vinegar-bath, gently splashing  hot water over the eggs to just cook the top side.  I prefer a runny, creamy, drip-all-over-the-plate yolk.  This method is good for that.

I also wanted something with a little more depth than hollandaise, and thought a bearnaise would compliment. the other ingredients.  I used a basic recipe for blender bearnaise.  Very similar to hollandaise.  Equal amounts of  tarragon, vinegar, white wine, and shallots reduced by half in a saute pan.  After cooling the mixture, I added it to the egg yolks in a blender.  On low speed, I slowly streamed in warm melted butter to thicken the sauce. Nice texture.  Thick and voluminous.  After blending, I added a splash more of the vinegar for brightness and acidity.

After carefully placing the poached eggs on top of the pan-fried hash-stuffed green peppers, I ladled the bearnaise over the top, and sprinkled them with sliced scallions and halved grape tomatoes for freshness.

Grapefruit supremes to the side and  golden buttered biscuits finished  the plate.

It was everything a traditional skillet hash should be and taste like.  The panfried peppers had the sweet "crunch" that a good hash should have, the onion flavor came through, and the potatoes were crisp brown,  yet creamy and smooth on the inside.  When sliced, the yolks burst and oozed down over all of it and mixed with the  herbal tartness of the bearnaise.  Tasty.
Hash & Eggs Benedict.  The best of both worlds.

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