Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Memorable Brunch Skillet ala Pat B.

Memorial Day weekend

Holy moly! I haven't written a brunch blog since February. Shame on me, but, I finally have something worth writing about. I don't know about you but I love, love the Williams Sonoma catalogs. They used to pile up near my desk with notes like "Save-good brunch recipes" or "Do not toss out". My husband, Steve, was a great purger.  He was in heaven when we were cleaning out our Mill Valley house and I consented to recycle the 30 yrs of magazines that were filed away on metal shelving in our wine cellar, Sunset, Gourmet, Cook's Illustrated, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Metropolitan Home and others that are/were out of publication. Unfortunately it was sometimes damp down there so there was a bit of a musty smell to them that I didn't want to transfer to my new home.  He was practically skipping up and down the steps to dump those suckers in the bin. I have been much better about cutting out recipes or ideas and tossing out the magazines if you don't count the few years of Coastal Living that are stacked up in the guest room. 

Several years ago the Williams Sonoma catalog featured brunch recipes from various Chefs around the country.  One that caught my eye was "Blue Maxx Breakfast Skillets" from Chef Ben Ford of Ford's Filling Station in Los Angeles. Of course you are supposed to purchase the perfect skillets for these from the catalog but I have enough cooking equipment and cut out the picture instead.  A local restaurant in town, Schooner's Wharf serves breakfast during the summer months and on their menu are Cowboy skillets. Last summer I split one with a friend, found it delicious and filed away the idea to try one of these days.

Memorial Day weekend was the perfect time to try out a breakfast skillet.  I looked up the original Blue Maxx Breakfast Skillets online and realized I had everything to re-create it but upon further inspection I decided it needed more and I would skip the hollandaise sauce.  I wanted to post this by Father's Day but I got distracted by my niece Jedel's graduation from UCLA which turned out to be a four day event. At least it isn't July 4th yet.

Pat's Breakfast Skillet
8 oz. red, white or gold  potatoes cut into 2" chunks
2 slices bacon cut into 1" pieces
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
1/4 med. onion cut into wedges
8 sm. mushrooms cut in half or if large quartered
2" sprig of rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
black pepper to taste
1 small tomato cut into wedges
1/2 c. baby arugula
1-2 eggs, poached
     Preheat oven to 375. Place a 10" or medium heavy skillet in oven for 15 min.
Combine all ingredients except the garnishes in a bowl stirring so they are coated with the olive oil. Turn into the heated skillet and put back into the oven for 30 min. Stir tomato into mixture and continue to roast until potatoes are brown and bacon crisp 12-15 more min. Pick out the rosemary and thyme sprigs and if the garlic is too brown discard it too, but I think I ate it.
Place arugula in the bottom of a 6" heavy skillet or a little shallow casserole. Arrange the potato-bacon mixture over the arugula and top with poached egg(s).  I am a one egg gal. In place of the hollandaise sauce I simply spooned on some of my brunch salsa*.
 I accompanied this with stone fruit, berries, yogurt, rustic toast and of course, a glass of sparkling wine.
If you use 2 or more eggs, split this among small baking dishes to serve 2.
I could not eat the whole thing.

Note: Brunch salsa in my house is usually Trader Joe's red salsa with a little Sirachi, ketchup and water or chicken stock to thin it, heated until bubbly.