My favorite breakfast is a simple fried egg with hash browns. I thought for this day in the challenge I'd make a breakfast, but in order to give it some richness, I decided to use duck eggs. Having never fried a duck egg before, I wasn't sure what to expect - either from the cooking or the eating process.
I've been reading up on the web about cooking and eating duck eggs by themselves and to some degree all the chatter made me apprehensive: "Gamey" a couple of people said on Chowhound. "The higher fat content makes it difficult to fry these properly and I recommend duck eggs for baking instead" came another comment. Not to be deterred from my culinary curiosity and pursuit for the best ingredients for the challenge, I researched the best/perfect way to fry my little treasures, and found that getting the eggs to room temperature so the whites and yolks cook more evenly.
To accompany the duck eggs, it only made sense to make the hash browns equally up to the duck standard. I thought about the Belgian frite obsession (and I say understandably so) for duck fat and it became the obvious choice. Of course, I understand not everyone can do duck fat for breakfast every weekend (I include myself in the group). Substituting chicken fat or a combo of butter and oil works very well. I added a couple of other secrets to perfect hash browns in the recipe as well: rinse your potato shreds in cold water then drain very well, and don't salt them until they are plated.
The resulting product? Creamy, rich eggs (no gamey-ness to be found) and crisp, flavorful hash browns. Topped with the fried sage, they are heaven.
For a refresher on the rules of my 10 day, 3 ingredient challenge, check out the first post.
- 2 duck eggs (let sit to room temp or placed in lukewarm water for 10 mins)
- 1 russet (or other starchy potato), shredded
- 5 sage leaves
What to do with it...
The hash browns...
- Rinse your shredded potato in cold water and drain very well - I use a potato ricer to press out the most moisture possible (this step helps you get crispy, perfect hash browns) and pat dry
- Heat some duck fat (or chicken fat or butter/oil) in a non-stick skillet on medium high heat
- Add your shredded potato and shape to round pancake size
- Fry on one side until golden, then remove from pan to plate and add a little more fat - make sure to keep the temp high, but not so high that fat is at smoking point
- Invert your hash browns back into the pan to cook the raw side until golden
- Remove to plate and add sea salt and cracked pepper
- Melt a generous amout of duck fat or butter to the pan on medium high
- When it begins to bubble, add eggs (you may want to crack into a separate bowl as the membranes on duck eggs tend to be thicker and require a little care)
- Lower heat to medium and cook until the white is nearly done and there is just a little golden crispness to the edges
- Remove from heat and cover - one minute for runny yolk, 2-3 for medium, 5 mins for well done
- Add your egg to the top of the hash browns
- Brown some fat or butter in your pan on high and add sage leaves
- Fry breifly on high until they start to crisp and turn golden then immediately pluck them out with tongs, one by one, and place on top of your eggs and hash browns
- Season with a little salt and pepper