I’ve eaten a fair number of meals in the last year and most of them have been pretty good but few of them have stayed on my mind for more than a day or two, maybe a week tops. But back in September Jeff and I took a road trip to Portland, OR and had breakfast at a cute little Scandinavian restaurant called Broder. I ordered the Swedish hash, mostly for the smoked trout, and I was blown away by it.
Perhaps you feel the same way about hash as I used to. In almost every breakfast place I ate at growing up in New England, hash meant corned beef and grated potatoes with some onions and maybe peppers thrown in. If it was fancy the corned beef was diced up in recognizable pieces; if it wasn’t then the meat likely came from a can. It’s a pretty decent breakfast and one that I sometimes make at home (although I generally skip the corned beef in favor of bacon and often use sweet potatoes because, well, that’s more often what I have sitting around) but it’s not something I order. The texture is kind of mushy and uniform and probably I’d rather have eggs and homefries if I want a savory breakfast.
This hash however, keeps some texture and contrast because this hash is cubed. Months later, still dreaming about that delicious breakfast, the thing that I keep recreating is the small cubes of potato and vegetable, browned in a skillet. Our weekly box included the first summer squash of the season and while I know I’ll be sick of them by the end of the summer, the green and yellow cubes liven up this dish and make it look more like summer. Sure it’s a little more labor to finely dice everything before putting it in the skillet, but the difference between that and grated potato hash is like real Belgian waffles versus Eggo – it’s a serious upgrade.
Not to belabor the Portland theme, but have you seen the Portlandia sketch “put a bird on it”? (If not, click that link and then check back in when you’re done. Ok, good). I feel that way about fried eggs. Pretty much any savory dish is better with a fried egg on top. It adds some staying power to a bowl of vegetables and the yolk is a ready-made sauce that coats everything and ties it together.
Cubed Potato Hash – early summer vegetable edition
Inspired by Broder
1 lb potatoes (if using new or red potatoes you can skip the peeling), finely diced
3 small or 2 medium zucchini or yellow squash, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tbs olive oil, butter, or saved bacon fat
2 tsp kosher salt
Heat a large skillet with your fat of choice on medium heat. When the oil/butter/bacon fat is hot, add the potatoes and onions and 1 tsp of salt. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the edges are brown and the vegetables are mostly soft.
Add the zucchini and the remaining 1 tsp salt and cook for 5-10 more minutes until the zucchini is cooked through. Stir every few minutes and scrape the pan to prevent burning. Serve anyway you like for pretty much any meal of the day. For best results: top with a fried egg.