Cheesy Skillet Potatoes and Eggs
You might be aware that California is in the midst of a terrible drought this season. Well this past weekend it finally rained in Santa Barbara—and it rained hard! (We’re talking torrential rains and coastal flooding.)
Although they’re reporting that the storm wasn’t enough to re-fill the state’s dried-up reservoirs, those few days of rain were still good news for California. And bad news for my car.
For some reason that none of the various mechanics I’ve taken it to can figure out, my car seems to hate the rain.
Unfortunately the rainstorm followed an exhausting dissertation week—when I’d still managed to do quite a bit of cooking—so it was one of those lazy weekends when Paula and I both wanted to throw in the kitchen towel and just go out for brunch.
But of course we couldn’t drive anywhere in the rain without my car threatening to die. Good thing we had this brunch-worthy recipe up our sleeves.
This is a pretty standard brunch combination—crispy potatoes and eggs—just fancied up in a few little ways.
Sweet bell pepper is tossed in among the potatoes, which are seasoned with salt, pepper, and scallions. A sprinkling of cheese is melted over the crisp potatoes the second they’re plated. And instead of serving it alongside a fried egg or two, with toast, the eggs are served directly on top of the cheesy potato hash. (Dare I say it, eliminating the need for toast altogether!?)
It’s the perfect breakfast dish for when we don’t have bread in the house. Of course, if you’ve been reading Paula’s bread posts here for a while now, you might think that happens… never. But actually she doesn’t make us bread every weekend, and her weekend bread doesn’t last all week (unless it’s a giant sourdough rye boule).
But the real reason we often don’t have bread in the house? Since Paula started baking her own bread, she’s sworn off storebought bread completely, so I am no longer allowed to buy any.
Even if I could have driven to the grocery store…
It was actually kind of nice to be home-bound last weekend, getting to stay inside and enjoy watching and listening to the rain.
While that car should be just as grateful for the free carwash as I am, instead it protests any recent rainstorm by stuttering and shuddering every time I brake or idle it. (Which of course makes me nervous every single time I stop at a red light, just in case it refuses to start back up again.)
I really thought I’d finally fixed it last April since it’s been behaving perfectly since then! But I guess that was all an illusion, thanks to California’s drought.
After the heavy rains started on Wednesday night, my car nearly broke down on Thursday morning, so I swore off driving it until after the weekend (and it’s been fine on all the sunny days since then). At least we had eggs and potatoes at home so we could cozy up with some homemade comfort food like this brunch dish.
As basic at it seems, this is something I’ve ordered a million times at my favorite brunch spot in Santa Barbara, so it’s a meal that I think of as a treat when I make it for myself at home.
I don’t always use bell peppers, but they add a sweet, juicy crunch to an otherwise savory, spicy dish. And I was too hungry to show you here, but I love the way the runny egg yolks break over the crispy potatoes, and the way the potatoes sop up the yolk almost as well as if they were bread.
Oh and if you’re curious, the photos are all from a previous week—believe me, we didn’t see the sun this past weekend!
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Cheesy Skillet Potatoes and Eggs
Active time: 25 minutes; Total time: 35 minutes.
~ 2 yukon gold potatoes, rinsed and diced
~ several Tbsp. olive oil
~ sea salt and black pepper
~ 1 bell pepper, or 3 mini bell peppers, de-veined and thinly sliced
~ 2 scallions, diced
~ small handful shredded cheese (any kind you like)
~ 1-2 eggs per person
~ hot sauce, to serve
Special equipment needed:
~ cast iron or other skillet that can handle high heat
How to make it:
1. Heat about 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering, then add the diced potatoes. (If you’re doubling or increasing the recipe at all, make sure there’s enough room to spread them out enough so that each potato cube can lay flat against the surface of the skillet to get crispy and brown.) Stir the potatoes briefly to coat them in olive oil, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and allow them to fry—without moving them!—for 5 minutes over medium heat, and another 5 minutes with the heat turned up to medium-high. The potatoes will start hissing and crackling, but resist the urge to move or turn them, since you want them to become browned and crispy.
2. After 10 minutes frying on one side, move the potatoes away from the center and add more olive oil—into the center at first—if necessary. Then flip as many of the potato cubes browned-side-up as possible and fry another 5 minutes or so, without moving them. During this time I like to place the sliced bell peppers on top of the potatoes, so that they start to cook a little, even though the potatoes are still getting all the skillet surface contact to themselves.
3. Finally, spend an additional 5-10 minutes frying the potatoes and peppers together, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients are cooked enough, as desired. Add diced scallions to the potatoes in the last 1-2 minutes of stirring and frying. Meanwhile, start frying your eggs in a separate skillet (or wait until the potatoes are plated to use the same pan).
4. Once the potatoes and peppers are cooked, transfer them to plates and immediately sprinkle them with shredded cheese, so that the cheese will melt over them.
5. Top the potatoes with 1-2 fried eggs per person, and serve immediately, with hot sauce.
Print this recipe! (PDF)
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