When the leaves are still green and the air still somewhat warm but hints of autumn are beginning to appear, I go for potatoes. Nothing helps me settle into Autumn more than a good hearty hash for breakfast. That, and my slippers. And lately our new rugs are helping me get in the mood for autumn, too. But potatoes do the trick every year. And luckily for me, a few weeks ago our farmers market had beautiful heirloom potatoes available and I snatched up a big bundle and took them home and made us a hearty hash.
It feels a bit silly to offer a recipe for a breakfast potato hash, but I've really been enjoying the roasted thyme, oregano and sumac flavors of za'atar spice (most associated with za'atar fattia bread) with our potatoes. We also love cooking them using an Adriatic spice blend that was given to Stephen and I as a gift by a dear friend, but I can't really tell you what is in this spice blend because its housed in an unmarked ceramic container, but I can tell you there is thyme in there and dried berries, even, I think. Its wonderful and special and delightful. Any wonderful aromatic herbs that bring you back to a place you wandered during the summer months, or remind of a place you long to be would be perfect here. Potatoes lend themselves well to daydreaming, I feel.
Autumn Potato Hash
(Serves 2 people generously)
17 October, 2010
4-6 small potatoes chopped into 1inch pieces (I go for the heirloom varieties at our farmers market. Okinawan yams are also really great.
2TB or so of your favorite olive oil
1TB unsalted butter
1TB za'atar spice or herbs de provence or any herb combination of your choosing
1/4C good chicken stock or vegetable stock (homemade is best)
Salt and Pepper to taste
**A few eggs
Add your olive oil and butter to a wide, shallow sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once butter melts into oil a bit add your potatoes, salting them a bit. Cover the pan for a few minutes, but keep your ears peeled. You're listening for delicate sounds of browning, here. (Every pan sounds different and some potatoes even whistle). After about 2-3 minutes toss your potatoes a bit and add your stock. You want the effect to be pan sizzle with a bit of steam. Stir the potatoes, reduce to medium heat and cover. After about 8 minutes or so add a bit more salt and pepper to taste along with the spice blend of your choosing. Cook until fork tender, wafting with sweetness and browned to your liking.
** For a great hash, once potatoes are fully browned and cooked through to your liking, make a bit of room in your pan and drop a few eggs into it and cover until the yolks turn a bit opaque (about 2 minutes). I call this the al dente egg. Enjoy.