As we delve into our latest Translation subset (Methods), I examine some of the lesser known cooking methods and see how they can be used to make a novel breakfast dish.
In culinary school we learned to steam fish in parchment paper, creating a moist flavorful dish; so why not use the method for breakfast? I started with potatoes on the bottom and added a spinach mixture topped with an egg. I cooked the potatoes to crispness and add some toasted nuts for both flavor and texture. For more flavor I added a little grated Parmesan cheese and to create the necessary steam, some wine or vinegar that brightened the taste.
2 Medium Potatoes partially cooked and grated
Some thin sliced sweet onion
1/4 cup pine or pecan nuts
4 cups of spinach
2-4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
salt and paper to taste
optional: chopped fresh herbs
4 Tbsp. white wine or wine vinegar.
1/2 cup olive oil plus more if needed
Fold two twenty inch pieces of parchment paper in half then cut heart shaped pieces out just like we used to do as children to make a heart for a valentine. Save for later.
Partially cook two medium potatoes about three quarters done and let cool completely. Skin the potatoes and grate into shreds. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat then when hot add the potatoes. When the potatoes start to brown turn the heat up a little and cook until crispy on both sides adding more oil as needed. Try not to turn the potatoes too often and they will brown better and more evenly. Drain on paper towels.
Thinly slice a quarter of a large onion, wash the spinach and toast 1/4 of a cup of nuts. Saute the onions until they start to brown then add the nuts and toast. When the nuts are toasted add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat an reserve warm.
Open the paper and add half of the potatoes, then add one half of the spinach onion nut mixture. Create a little nest in the top and grate some cheese. Break a egg into the depression and season with salt and pepper and a little more cheese. Splash half of the wine or vinegar over the top. Fold the paper over and starting at the top of the heart fold the paper over about a half of a inch the repeat every inch until the package is entirely sealed. Build the second package just like the first and place both on a sheet pan and bake in the oven until the eggs are cooked (about 7 minutes for a soft yolk to 12 minutes for a completely cooked yolk). Serve immediately cutting open the packages at the table. Serves two.
Note: You can also bake the eggs, potatoes and spinach in covered ramekins if you don't have the paper. It will be just as good.
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How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.