My Sidekick is desperate for me to love fall. And to be truthful about it, I do. I love fall. What I hate is winter. And in New York, as in pretty much any other place I've lived, fall lasts about two weeks. Then, what happened today happens. The temperature drops twenty degrees overnight, winter is here early, all of our hearts die a little bit and we put our winter coats on to trudge through the next six months of slush.
I am deeply sorry for being this hyperbolic. Why am I even telling you this? Because I want you to stay inside tomorrow and make breakfast.
Last weekend something rare happened: my Sidekick was extremely hungover and I was not. This is rare because we usually indulge at about the same velocity and spend the next day rock-paper-scissoring for who will go get egg sandwiches from the deli downstairs. For some reason, the late night slice of pizza and the bottle of water I chugged on the train home from the Holiday Cocktail Lounge saved me from my Sidekick's state that morning. So, I made some coffee and juiced some oranges. The only way I know how to fix a loved one who is sick or broken is to feed them a meal: this one was breakfast.
We had an odd assortment of things in the fridge. There are always eggs. There are usually mushrooms. I never go for long stretches with no cheddar in the house. Benevolently, prosciutto was in the meat drawer! There were also a few straggly bits of onion, green pepper and a sad looking stalk of weeks-neglected Brussels sprouts kicking around. Somehow, from this isle of misfit fridge toys, breakfast got made. And, in one of those-few-and-far-between accidental miracle moments, it was really good.
Baked Eggs with Prosciutto and Brussels-Sprout-Potato Hash
I like to use a big, two burner griddle for this because I can keep the hash on to get nice and brown while cooking the ingredients that hide under the eggs at the same time. It should be obvious, but just in case it isn't, you can basically hide any ingredients under baked eggs and they will come out tasting delicious.
4 slices proscuitto
half a green pepper, diced
handful of mushrooms (I had shiitakes, so that's what I used), diced
about 1/2 cup coarsely grated cheddar
1 onion, chopped
1 potato, peeled and diced
all the Brussels sprouts you can salvage from the weeks-neglected stalk in the fridge
milk or cream
butter for greasing cocottes, sauteeing veggies and cooking hash and griddling muffins
Heat oven to 350°. Take your eggs out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
Put your diced potatoes in a pot and just cover with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil for a few minutes, just to get them a bit tender. Start sweating half your onion in a bit of butter and salt on the griddle pan. Halve your small Brussels, quarter or dice larger ones, and add them to the onions. Once the Brussels have started to brown, add the drained potatoes and form into a tight cake. Press down, turn the heat down to low and let it sit while you prep your eggs. I mean, obviously, if you smell burning, flip it. If not, JUST LEAVE IT so it gets a nice, brown crust on it.
In the meantime, sautee the other half of the chopped onion, green pepper and mushrooms in a bit of butter. Season with salt and pepper. When they're soft and browning, remove them from the heat. Butter two cocottes, ramekins, or other small, oven-proof vessel with butter. Sprinkle some cheddar on the bottom. Add a slice of prosciutto. Divide the green pepper, onion and mushroom mixture between the two cocottes. Add another layer of prosciutto. Crack one egg (or two if you're feeling particularly burly and starving) into each cocotte. Pour a spoonful of milk or cream over the egg, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
You should probably check your hash now to make sure you are not burning the shit out of it. If it's dry, add some more butter. This is also a great time to start griddling your English muffins in butter.
Put your cocottes in a wide, deep skillet or baking dish and fill with hot water halfway up their sides. (This is called a water bath and being scared of it is stupid because otherwise your eggs will never cook evenly and your hungry loved ones will be disappointed in you.) Put this pan in the preheated oven and bake until the whites are set, but the yolks are still runny. Sometimes it takes fifteen minutes. Sometimes it takes twenty. Sometimes you think it will never happen and then two seconds later, your eggs are perfect like magic. What I'm saying is, just pay attention to them. That's all they want. Turn the pan once in the middle because your oven probably does not cook evenly because we do not live in a perfect world.
That's all. Assemble on a plate. I hope you are not a heathen and found some way to make coffee during all this. Hungry, hungover loved ones need coffee.