It’s the weekend, you’re waking up with at least a partial hangover, and are looking for breakfast to heal you. You look in the fridge and there’s a little of this, a little of that. Some eggs, a slice or two of bacon, half an onion and maybe a leftover potato.
Perfect, you think! You’ve got all the makings of a greasy, fried comfort bomb. Breakfast hash, let’s do this! The best part is, you can just chop everything up, toss it together and let the pan do all the work, right? WRONG! Do that and you’ll have an oily pile of mush. But follow these simple steps and you too can attain perfect, crispy savoriness.
Parboil potatoes before frying, and add some vinegar
You should never, ever just fry your potatoes in oil. By the time the insides are cooked through, the outsides are charred to a crisp. Cook the outside to a proper golden brown, and the insides are still tough and starchy. By parboiling them for fifteen or twenty minutes your potatoes will be properly cooked through, but still fluffy as clouds, and ready to fry up. Adding a dash of white vinegar keeps the starch from breaking down in the water, letting the potatoes retain their shape for perfect frying. Let them air dry afterwards, so the potatoes can make maximum contact with your heat source.
Cook your ingredients one at a time
Even by parboiling your potatoes, they are going to need far, FAR longer cooking than onions or bacon. Don’t try to get cute and estimate the cooking times to have them all finish simultaneously, it just won’t end well. Instead, take all of the guess work out and simply cook each one separately, then add them all back into your pan at the end to gel together. This allows you to cook each ingredient perfectly, and let’s be honest your probably not in the right state of mind to over-complicate things.
Add as much oil as you need, then add some more
To get your potatoes to their perfect crispiness, you need a LOT of oil. I know we’ve been trained to think that we should avoid using too much fat and oil, although we’re largely wrong, but this should not be one of those times. Hot oil is the frying surface upon which your potatoes will bask in golden deliciousness. If you’re using some kind of meat, render that first before you fry up the potatoes, but feel free to add more oil liberally as necessary. Let them sit for at least ten minutes before you flip them. This lets them get an even crisp. This is also the time to add whichever spices you’d like to your potatoes, so it can adhere properly.
Don’t even try cooking your eggs in the same pan
Trust me, I know it’s tempting. Once you’ve combined all of your perfectly (and individually) cooked ingredients back into the pan, you’ll want to crack some eggs to nestle around all that tastiness. It’s easier, doesn’t need a separate pan and best of all seems kind of fancy. BUT TRY AND RESIST! You’ve come all this way, and cooked everything so perfectly, don’t screw it up now. It all comes down to how you like your eggs, but for me I like a firmly cooked egg-white with a slightly cooked yolk. It’s almost impossible to achieve this in a pan full of potatoes and onions, so you’re better off just cooking them in a separate pan.
Load it all onto your plate, and garnish as you like
Although I do like a nice cilantro garnish, I rarely have the kind of foresight to have it on hand when making a breakfast hash. It’s perfectly delicious on its own, but a garnish can add some freshness to counterbalance the heaviness of the fat and potatoes.
Follow these simple steps and you’ll not only have a god damn delicious breakfast hash, but you’ll save hangover-you from having to make any tough decisions. Keep it simple, make sure each ingredient is perfectly done on its own and combine for maximum enjoyment.
Master these steps and you can roll with whatever you might have leftover in your fridge (day after Thanksgiving hash?!). There’s nothing better, easier or more therapeutic to your poor hangover brain than a well-constructed breakfast hash.
Not Chef Jared