Friday, January 7, 2011

Discover the Heavenliness of Hash

You Can Make Crazy Good Variations on Corned Beef Hash Out of Leftovers

A plate of corned beef hash isn’t something you’d expect celebrity chefs to get that excited about, but savory hashes—when they’re done right and with flair—can be the talk of the town, especially in The Big Apple where country-style pork hash, Texas barbecue style hash, and prime rib hash, kicked up with a little horseradish and beet sauce are a hot item in some of NYC’s swankiest restaurants. You can read the Times article and get out the old chopping block and frying pan to try some of these dishes for yourself—or you could just whip up my hashes. As a connoisseur of comfort food, it means something when I say that my brand of Corned Beef Hash with Poached Eggs is my all-time favorite brunch. I’m sure any meat-and-potatoes person would whole-heartedly agree!

Notes from Other Kitchens On Ways to Maximize the Heaven in Your Hash

It’s a shame that so many people equate corned beef hash with its canned version at the grocery store. Hash done right looks nothing like that, folks—and preparing your own homemade hash is a breeze; it also gives you chance to start off on the right foot and make better use of your groceries this year. A successful hash is, after all, all about the leftovers. So scan your fridge and look for remnants of last night’s roast beef or turkey. If you’ve got that, a couple of potatoes and onions to spare, you’ve got hash! Use my corned beef hash recipe as a template for any kind of hash; you’ll see that it’s easy to know where you can substitute.

If you want corned beef, look for it in the meat section of the grocery store, or you can buy corned beef in a can. I promise I won’t tell. If you want to serve up corned beef hash that merits some real applause, ladle a little hollandaise sauce over the finished product. Your breakfast guests will love it, and if they stick around long enough for dinner, consider serving a little wild mushroom hash with filet of sole.

One more note: Masters of hash advocate seasoning it up and letting it sit a few hours so the flavors have a chance to vamp up—and here’s a golden standard for ingredients: the experts say to use two kinds of boiled potatoes, taking care to dice and mash them; caramelize the onions and make sure half are sliced and the other half ground down to a mince. I love a good and simple secret, don’t you?

The Bye-Bye Winter Blues Part

Because of the eggs on top and other protein packed, nutrient dense ingredients, corned beef hash can kick the winter blues to the curb any day of the week. It’s rich in selenium, an anti-oxidant that improves thyroid functions, boosts immunity, way-lays the onset of cancer and shows up—most notably—in large amounts in happy people. Neuropsychological studies show that people with depression have low levels of selenium compared to those who are not depressed. Get an especially heavy does of bliss in my Smoked Trout Hash with Fried Eggs—it’s got these rich, smoky flavors that’ll curl your toes—so pull off those winter boots and get warmed up soon!

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