A healthy variation on crispy hash browns served with poached eggs and homemade gammon. This dish is a super simple Sunday Brunch idea, as well as an amazing recipe to hide some extra veggies in the meal without anyone noticing it.
Fish and chips for Friday dinner and hash browns for Saturday breakfast – this is my kind of heaven! As you may come to understand, I love these greasy and crispy British dishes – and because they are so naughty, this is what makes them so, so good.
The first time I tried hash browns was in one of the places you might call a ‘greasy spoon’, a couple of years ago. I think it was the cheapest possible frozen bag of hash browns, cooked in old oil – nothing what would scream ‘amazing food’, but somehow it was still amazing! I guess they are just one of those foodstuffs that need to be greasy to be delicious. From that moment on, I haven’t been able to imagine a proper English breakfast without hash browns. It’s a match made in heaven.
Of course (sadly), eating hash browns everyday isn’t an option. This is why I started searching for a healthier alternative that I could incorporate into my breakfast menu without feeling guilty (nobody wants to start the day with the thought that you’ve already used all your daily calories). I felt that the easiest way of doing it would be to switch frying hash browns in lots of oil, for gently cooking them in a small amount olive oil. Secondly, add some extra veggies. Instead of eating pure potatoes, it felt like this was a perfect opportunity to add carrots, broccoli or spinach to the dish.
Also you can find more breakfast ideas with hash browns here:
Ham Quiche with Hash Brown Crust
Healthier English Breakfast with Oven Baked Hash Browns and Eggs
Tips for the best poached egg
Cooking beautiful poached eggs isn’t that difficult, and I think by now everyone has their own methods. But let me share some of my own tips with you:
- Use fresh eggs. Don’t underestimate this step. It really makes a big difference. If your eggs are not coming together while you are poaching them, the most likely cause is that they were old.
- Poach the eggs in a big saucepan. You want to have as much room as possible for the eggs when they cook.
- Don’t use vinegar. To be honest, I don’t understand how someone came up with this ‘brilliant’ idea of using vinegar while you poach eggs. It gives an unpleasant aftertaste. Instead of vinegar, use a couple of drops of lemon juice – it works just as well and doesn’t negatively impact the taste.
- It is not strictly necessary to swirl the water. It won’t hurt if you do it, but it is not mandatory. If your eggs are fresh, they will nicely come together even without swirling the boiling water.
- Poach the eggs on a low heat. Don’t speed-up the process by blasting the fire all the way up.
When making it myself, I finished the dish with home cooked gammon I’d made a day before and it worked perfectly! The gammon was glazed with a honey and red wine sauce which gave a gentle punch of sweetness. Although it isn’t necessary, I used the gammon just because I had it in my fridge, but you can swap it for a variety of ingredients; roast ham, chorizo, or fried halloumi for the vegetarian version.
1 chilli pepper
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
Salt and pepper
2 slices of gammon
Prepare the hash browns:
- Grate the potatoes, carrot and broccoli (uncooked). Add the veggies onto a cheesecloth or a clean towel and squeeze out the excess liquid by twisting the cloth. Finely chop the leek and chilli pepper. Mix all the veggies, add the garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Preheat the pan with a splash of olive oil. Make the small hash brown pancakes and cook them for 4 minutes on each side or until they are golden.
Poach the eggs:
- Crack your egg into a mesh sieve over a bowl to separate the watery albumen from the rest of the egg. Transfer the egg from the sieve to a small bowl and squeeze in a little bit of lemon juice.
- Place the pot onto the stove and bring it to a boil.
- Use a spoon to stir the water and create a vortex just before putting the egg into the pot.
- As soon as you have a vortex, gently and slowly drop the egg in the middle of it.
- Remove the egg from the water after three minutes.
- Place the egg on a paper towel and remove all the unattractive bits.
- Preheat the pan and fry a couple of slices of the gammon.
- Place the hash brown on a plate, followed by the fried gammon and poached egg. Finish the dish by sprinkling some chilli flakes and Maldon salt over the top.