autumn is here!
well, technically it won’t be here until the 23rd of september, the official first day of fall. however, i’m pretty sure most of us consider labor day to be the last day of summer, so can we just pretend it’s fall now? i’d rather not wait three more weeks for cooler temperatures, wearing tights with boots and dresses (my fave!) and consuming a ridiculous amount of pumpkin spice lattes.
so yay! autumn is here! just humor me, okay?
being in florida, we don’t really get to enjoy the changing of the seasons, which breaks my heart a little. can i just tell you how in love i am with gorgeous, wildly-colored falling leaves and swirling, crisp fall breezes? i want those things in my life!
instead, i get humidity and heat, all day every day. we’ll be lucky if it starts to feel vaguely like autumn around the end of november. hooray florida!
though it was a teeny tiny bit breezy today. maybe the weather is making an effort to get on my good side. show me a 60 degree day, weather. then maybe we can be friends.
regardless of how sweltering hot it might be here, i’m still indulging in the autumnal flavors i know and love. i’m craving lots of delicious harvest fruits, like apples and pomegranates. i’m all about root vegetables, like parsnips, turnips, yams and sweet potatoes. i want to drink apple cider and mulled wine, and exclusively dine on slow-roasted and braised dishes each night.
can you tell i’m way in love with autumn? it’s serious.
this sweet potato, apple and pancetta hash is the perfect simple meal to enjoy outdoors as the weather begins to cool down. at least that’s how i’d imagine we would dine if we lived up north. instead, we enjoyed this hash indoors, longingly staring out the window and wishing for a cold front.
you know how the native Americans would perform rain dances to invoke rain? maybe we can invent some sort of dance that conjures cooler temperatures! i’m a pretty dorky dancer, so i’m pretty sure the weather gods would just have a good laugh watching me do that dance.
as much as i’m in love with the idea of fall, i’m also smitten with topping dishes with fried eggs. instead of “put a bird on it,” around these parts its more like “put a fried egg on it!”
there’s just something so rich and wonderful and sumptuous about a fried egg; piercing the center of the egg ever-so-lightly with the tines of a fork, coaxing the buttery goldenrod yolk to spill forth. it’s a little sexy.
all the flavors in this hash meld together so beautifully: the tart green apple coaxes the sweet potato’s inherent sweetness to the forefront. pancetta adds a pleasant background hint of porky, salty goodness. thyme, sweet onion and cinnamon round out the hash, making this dish a fantastic, full-flavored salute to the onset of autumn.
this hash makes for a lovely early-evening meal, but i’d recommend making extra so you can also enjoy it the next day for breakfast! you can thank me later.
sweet potato, apple & pancetta hash
Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
this recipe can easily be doubled, which i definitely recommend doing. this hash is so good, you'll want it for breakfast the next day!
2-3 tablespoons olive oil or butter for sauteeing
1 quarter-inch thick slice pancetta, diced small (you can substitute about 2-3 pieces of bacon if you'd prefer!)
1 medium vidalia onion, diced small
1 medium granny smith apple, peeled and diced into cubes about 1/4" wide
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into cubes about 1/2" wide
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1-2 large eggs
for the sweet potato hash
place a large cast-iron or other heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.
flick a few drops of water into the skillet to make sure it's hot enough. if the droplets sizzle and dance across the surface of the skillet, you're ready to cook!
drizzle a small amount of olive oil into the skillet and add the pancetta. cook until crisp, stirring often, about 2-3 minutes.
remove the pancetta from the skillet and allow it to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
add the onion to the skillet and season with a small amount of kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. saute the onion, stirring often for 2-3 minutes, or until the diced onion is translucent.
add the diced apple and cinnamon, and stir to combine. saute the apple and onion for about 5 minutes, or until the apple begins to brown slightly.
scrape the apple and onion mixture onto a plate and set aside.
add a small amount of olive oil or butter to the skillet and add the diced sweet potato. season lightly with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, stirring to coat.
arrange the diced sweet potato in a single layer in the pan and allow to cook over medium heat for 2 minutes undisturbed until they just begin to brown.
stir the pan and again arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer, cooking for another 2 minutes until brown on cooked side.
continue cooking the sweet potatoes until crisp, golden brown and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
return the pancetta, apples and onions to the pan, and add the fresh thyme. stir to combine, and cook for another minute to ensure the hash is heated through.
portion the hash onto plates and if desired, top each serving with a poached or fried egg and lots of hot sauce!
not sure how to make a fried egg? read on!
for the fried eggs
i like my eggs over easy, so here's how i make them!
heat a skillet over medium high heat. it should be hot enough that when you flick a few drops of water on it, they sizzle and dance. if you have a nonstick skillet, even better!
spray the pan generously with nonstick cooking spray, or if you're going all out, use butter.
i find it easier to crack the egg into a small bowl first, then i gently slide it into the skillet.
i cook it on one side for about 30 seconds, shaking the pan gently all the while to ensure none of the egg is sticking.
once the white is almost completely solid white, it's time to flip!
tilt the pan forward and down, at about a 45 degree angle. with the flick of your wrist, launch the egg up and forwards, while keeping the pan underneath the egg. it might take a few tries, but definitely eat the imperfect ones!
once flipped, cook the egg 15 seconds, slide it on top of the hash, and season with kosher salt and pepper.
a food + words original