Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Breakfast My Way: Egg Mountain

I really don't like sweet breakfasts. So, when I came across Mark Bittman's article in the February 18 edition of The New York Times titled "Your Morning Pizza," I got excited. Finally, here was someone talking up the merits of savory breakfast and pointing out the many countries around the world whose inhabitants would never dream of loading up on anything sweet in the morning. Bittman extols the virtues of traditionally non-breakfast items, like polenta pizza, breakfast risotto, and wheat berry-soy-scallions bowl. However, if you're not ready to fully take a dive into the dinner-for-breakfast recipe pool, I have a recipe for you that offers a nice compromise with the traditionally "dinner" vegetables and the traditional "breakfast" egg. Although this recipe evolved out of one from Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" for Eggs in a Nest (a dinner concoction in which the American notion of eggs for breakfast is turned on its head and eggs are instead eaten for dinner on top of brown rice and swiss chard...very Italian), mine is heartier and more satisfying. I like to call it "Egg Mountain," a name which certainly connotes satisfaction much more imposing than a mere nest.

Now that I'm a student, I have the luck of being able to eat breakfast whenever I want (around 10 or 11 am most mornings) and to eat whatever I want (provided the ingredients are in the apartment). This dish is versatile enough, however, that you can use what you have on hand, which is exactly how the recipe came about. I loved the way that the poached egg from Kingsolver's "Eggs in Nest" recipe oozed happily over the brown rice and vegetables, coating them with a deep yellow sheen. However, I'm not a huge fan of rice (I much prefer potatoes) and one morning I found myself ready for breakfast but not sure what to make. I had some stir-fried bok choy on hand, along with some cooked potatoes. Recalling the Eggs in a Nest recipe but wanting to use ingredients on hand that I enjoy, I created Egg Mountain.

Egg Mountain (serves 1)

This is a perfect breakfast/brunch with a nice ratio of veggies, carbs, and protein. It's healthy, quick to make, delicious, and savory. The dish is a great use of leftover cooked veggies and potatoes, but it is also quick to make from scratch, as I did this morning.

1 small potato, srubbed but not peeled, and cubed in large chunks
Olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
A pile of veggies (I like greens such as bok choy, spinach, and chard, but you can use any veggies--tomatoes are a nice accompaniment to the greens)
1 large egg
Salt and pepper

1. Put the potato cubes in a shallow bowl and cook in the microwave on high for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through (skip this step if your potatoes are previously cooked).
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet (not non-stick), heat the oil. Throw in the garlic and saute until golden. (Skip this step if cooked veggies are already cooked in garlic; just heat veggies with a little oil.)
3. Add the veggies and saute (if veggies are previously cooked, just saute them enough to heat). Remove from pan and place in a bowl; cover bowl with a pot lid or plate to keep warm.
4. Add more oil to the pan, heat, and throw in the cooked potato cubes. Saute until golden and crisp, turning only when the sides are brown. Remove potatoes and place on top of vegetables.
5. If necessary, add more oil to the pan. Break egg into pan and fry. Turn, and cook about 1 minute more so the white is cooked through but the yolk is still runny (you can also cook it through if you prefer). Place egg on top of potatoes and veggies.
6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and eat. Then start your day.

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