I come from a long line of after-dinner pickers. What I mean by that is that during big family meals, such as Sunday dinner or Thanksgiving or Christmas, we each take relatively dainty portions of everything, finish what’s on our plates, then proceed to “pick” at the actual dishes of food themselves until satiated. I’m talking spearing roasted potatoes from the platter, or picking up pieces of turkey with your fingers (or with a fork, if there’s company) and dipping them into the gravy boat.
It’s the sort of thing that can drive other people crazy, especially people who like to clear the table immediately once everyone’s finished eating. However, I’ve always seen it as a chance to talk and eat and laugh a bit more with your family as you leisurely pick away at the feast that’s been prepared. Everyone can snag a little bit more of their favourite dish, and the person who cooked the meal can sit and relax a bit longer before getting ready to serve dessert (which we never have room for, but inevitably manage to polish off anyway).
I conjured this image because while I was shooting this breakfast skillet, I was stealthily picking away at the potatoes in between shots. The smell of this fresh out of the oven was just too tantalizing to resist. Plus I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and was ravenous. I’m just lucky I managed to take these pictures at all before I gobbled the whole thing up.
Fried potatoes alone would be cause for my mouth to water, but this dish combines them with salty bacon, sweet red peppers, earthy mushrooms, scallions, and oodles of creamy melted smoked Gouda. Top that with a couple of sunny eggs and a handful of fresh basil, and you’ve got my dream savoury breakfast.
I make something like this for breakfast at least once a week. Generally, though, I’m too lazy to turn on my oven so instead of finishing the eggs there (resulting in lovely runny yolks), I just scramble the whole thing on the stove. It’s just as tasty, but admittedly not as pretty that way. Another option would be to poach or fry the eggs separately and simply serve them on top.
I love using leftover vegetables for this; since the potatoes have to be cooked through first anyway, I tend to make this the morning after I’ve made baked/boiled/roasted potatoes. In this case, I used two small leftover baked potatoes, some freshly chopped mushrooms, and a handful of red peppers I had diced for a salad the day before but never got around to using. Toss whatever you have handy with eggs, cheese and herbs and I can almost guarantee delicious success.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 and ½ cups potatoes, cooked and chopped (I used two small leftover baked potatoes)
- ½ cup red pepper, chopped
- ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
- ⅓ cup smoked Gouda, shredded
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- In a 9-inch ovenproof skillet, cast iron or otherwise, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook until just golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Add crumbled bacon, red pepper and mushrooms and cook until softened, another 3-5 minutes. Season will salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in scallions and Gouda, stirring to distribute evenly. Make two wells in the vegetables, and crack one egg into each well, being careful not to break the yolks. Transfer pan to oven and bake until the tops of the eggs are set, about 8-10 minutes.
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with the basil, with a side of ketchup if you like that sort of thing!