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Friday, December 2, 2011

A Great New Dish for Holiday Brunches

Hash, that old breakfast standby of sautéed corned beef and potatoes, is having a come back, but in the newest versions, corned beef is not always de rigeur. Sautéed apples and smoked sausage or a sweet potato, red onion, and bacon mélange are typical examples of today’s inventive selections. Recently, I created the recipe featured here for Smoked Salmon, Fennel, and Potato Hash— a colorful, fresh, and delicious alternative to traditional corned beef versions, and a perfect addition to holiday brunches.

This one pairs flaked hot-smoked salmon with sautéed bits of fennel, chopped onions, and diced potatoes. Crushed fennel seeds and chopped lacy fennel fronds add a mild anise flavor. You can use this delectable hash as a side to serve with scrambled eggs, or for a little more visual drama, simply slid a poached or fried egg on top of each serving.

Voilà! You’ve got a glorious brunch entree to serve during this season of celebrations.

A key ingredient in this recipe is the hot smoked salmon (which is usually cut thick and has a more intense smokiness) so if you’re not familiar with it, be sure to read the market note following the recipe for tips on where to buy it.

Smoked Salmon, Fennel, and Potato Hash

1 lb Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-in cubes
Kosher salt
2 medium fennel bulbs with their lacy stalks
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 lb hot-smoked salmon fillet, skin discarded and salmon flaked (see market note)
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed (see cooking tip)
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large saucepan filled two thirds full with water to a boil. Add the potatoes and 2 tsp salt. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife but still hold their shape, for about 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and set aside.

Cut off the stalks from the fennel bulbs. Remove the thin lacy fronds and chop enough of them to make 2 tbsp; set aside. Reserve a few lacy sprigs in a glass of water for the garnish. Halve the bulbs lengthwise, and with a sharp knife, cut out and discard the tough triangular cores. Then chop enough fennel to yield 2 cups. Save any extra for another use.

Add half of the olive oil to a large, heavy frying pan set over medium heat. Add the fennel and onions and cook, stirring often until softened and lightly browned around the edges, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Heat the remaining oil in the same frying pan and, when hot, add the potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Return the fennel and onions to the frying pan and stir 1 minute to reheat. Add the flaked salmon and the crushed fennel seeds and cook 1 minute more. Season hash with more salt and with several generous grinds of pepper. Sprinkle with the reserved chopped fennel fronds.

Mound the hash in a serving dish and garnish the center with some fennel sprigs. Serve warm. Serves 6

Market note: There are two basic ways of smoking salmon–cool smoked and hot smoked. The former, usually sold thinly sliced, has a delicate smoked flavor and is readily available in many groceries. The hot smoked variety is typically cut thicker, is firmer, and has an intense smoky flavor. Hot smoked salmon is sold in some supermarkets such as Whole Foods, and comes plain and sometimes scented with light maple, pepper, or other seasonings. The plain or light maple-flavored varieties work well in this recipe.

Cooking tip: To crush fennel seeds, place them in a self-sealing bag and pound with a meat pounder or rolling pin, or use a mortar and pestle. Or, use a small spice grinder and grind the seeds coarsely.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Start-to-finish time: 45 minutes

Recipe is from the forthcoming Sunday Brunch by Betty Rosbottom (Chronicle Books 2012)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds delicious. This would be a great dish to serve for a brunch. And I love smoked salmon.