Tip #10: Make a hash of it

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One of the best things about cooking at home? You can eat what you want, when you want it. Though we often think of certain foods as only eaten at specific times of the day, we can break those rules with abandon in our own kitchens. My favorite expression of this is “hash,” which I make on a regular basis, though rarely the same way twice. We eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I suspect it would be near-impossible to trace the origins of this dish, though Wikipedia states that the word is from the French verb hacher, which means to chop. Most cultures have a version of it, and my husband had the Danish version, biksemad, for dinner one night when we were there visiting friends last week. (As an aside, Denmark is beautiful.) Similar to those served in America, this biksemad consisted of diced meat, potatoes, and onions and was topped with fried eggs. As per tradition, on the side were pickled beets, which added a nice zing of flavor to the richness of the combo.

This morning’s hash, which served one, was whipped up in response to the snow and wind outside. It was a burst of color on the plate and an energizing way to start the day. It looked nothing like the photo above, which is from last September and is there to illustrate how many different directions you can go in with this dish. Meat or no meat, greens or no greens, winter or summer squash, sweet or red or white or yellow potatoes, smoked salmon or tofu: there are no limits. Our friend referred to biksemad as a “clean-out the refrigerator” recipe, and I have to agree. You can put almost anything in there.

Sweet Potato Hash for One (can easily be multiplied)

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup peeled (or just well-scrubbed), diced sweet potato
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped escarole
salt and pepper
1 tsp salted butter
1 large egg

  1. Heat the oil in a small skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add the sweet potato and a small pinch of salt, stir, cover, and let cook for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the onion to the sweet potato, stir, cover, and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover and test the texture of the sweet potatoes. If your dice were small, they may already be tender. If not, cook, uncovered, for 3-5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.
  3. Stir in escarole and another small pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the escarole is wilted.
  4. Slide the sweet potato mixture to the side of the pan, or onto a small plate which you can keep warm. Add the butter to the pan and crack the egg into the butter. Sprinkle with black pepper (and add some to the sweet potatoes while you’re at it). Cook egg to desired doneness, and serve on top of the hash.

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