|Caramelized fennel and onion hash. © Ryan Schierling|
Sometimes we mumble.
Sometimes there’s just an overflowing refrigerator and a short-order cook aesthetic – throw some stuff together and put an egg on it. The treatments will vary depending on what we’ve been cooking lately (have you ever eaten taco salad variants five nights in a row?) and what happens to be in the pantry, but shaking things up sometimes requires a reset and breakfast is always where I begin again.
We had pounds of potatoes, tons of onions and two generous fronds of fennel. How am I supposed to be fabulous with fennel?
I don’t enjoy anise-flavored things in the least – Jagermeister and NyQuil (which may as well be the same disgusting thing when you have a cold), absinthe (love the old-world concept and execution, hate the liquor), Black Jack chewing gum (what the…?), star anise (pretty, but pretty repulsive) uhm… black licorice (sue me, it's foul). Some spell it “liquorice” and that would seem to imply I’d love it, seeing that it’s a compound word containing “liquor” and “ice.” Not so. Definitely... not so.
But fennel that is slow-cooked down with onions until it’s brown and supremely sweet isn’t something we’ve ever done before. The fennel flavor changes from a bracing, bright anise hit to a far more complex, mellow mouthful that’s so very nice with potatoes. A squeeze of lemon juice and a couple of garden-fresh tomato slices add some acidity, and the egg on top is required whether this is for breakfast or not. Enjoy.
Hash with caramelized fennel and onion
6 small red potatoes
2 bulbs fennel
1 small onion
1 teeny tomato
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
Scrub the potatoes, then steam them whole in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Trim the stalks off the fennel. Cut the white bulbs in half lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Save a few of the green tops for garnish. Peel and roughly chop the onion. In a skillet over medium-low heat, begin caramelizing the onion and fennel in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Stir frequently until the onion and fennel are nicely brown and very fragrant, about 45 minutes.
When the potatoes are soft enough to pierce with a knife, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Cut the potatoes in half and crush them just a bit with the back of a wooden spoon. Once the onion and fennel are caramelized, add another couple glugs of olive oil and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the potatoes. Cook without stirring for 10 minutes, until you start to get crispy bits of potato. Stir well, cook for another 10 minutes. Turn heat to low and start frying your eggs. Plate hash, give each pile a squeeze of lemon juice, top with fresh tomato and a fried egg. Garnish with minced fennel tops.
*If you're down with the hash, Jameson whiskey and the brilliantly-bad movie Irish American Ninja, check out our original hangover breakfast post.