September 2nd, 2012. Yolk. Brunch in rainy Chicago. Overdressed as usual.
Brunch. The Big Easy. Andouille sausage, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, red potatoes. Two eggs any style, sans cheese.
Before I speak about my eats in Chicago, I wanted to say that I am notorious for traveling to places completely and utterly unprepared for the weather. It all started in my last year of college, in Ithaca, where I was caught dead in a snowstorm with Vibrams (5-toe shoes) and a light jacket. Fail.
Anyway, Chicago, at this time in hazy September, was humid, rainy, and surprisingly hot. What did I bring? Non-waterproof wool coat, textile shoes, and…no umbrella. I was basically a walking, talking, Bounty-quicker-picker-upper towel. Fantastic(ly stupid).
Anyway, my good friend dragged us to Yolk for brunch. I opted (again) out of the usual omelet, and went for the Big Easy skillet. The meal was okay. Nothing crazy fancy, and my over easy eggs came broken, so that was a bit disappointing. The vegetable variety in the skillet wasn’t bad, but they were slightly greasy. The potatoes were also a bit dry and soggy. In terms of texture and satisfaction of each bite, it scored below average, but the overall flavors were there. The sausage was slightly salty; luckily, the potatoes needed an extra kick, and the the spice from the Andouille sausage provided just that.
I would have rearranged the meal a bit in order to create a classic that I would have enjoyed. Since I’ve become interested in nutrition and ancestral health (a bit of a side interest), I’ve stayed away from flour and wheat products; there are several reasons that I partake in this, but they’re not important right now. What’s important is that I do miss the classic eggs, bacon/sausage, hash, and pancake combination breakfast. The easiest answer would just be to partake in it every once in a while, and sure, I could do that, but I’d be more fun to rearrange the ingredients of this particular dish.
First off, the eggs. Back in college, I liked to eat eggs with Sriracha sauce…something about spicy fatty eggs was really jolting in the morning, except for the fact that back then, I probably ate more Sriracha sauce than I did eggs. For the over-easy egg skillet, the ratio of yolk and other components seemed a bit off (more skillet saute than egg), so in this case, I’d throw an extra egg in for three over-easy eggs, cooked with some salt pepper, and a dash of red pepper flake.
For the Sriracha sauce, I’d replace with a spicy paste. This would act as a coarse “sauce” for the soft, creamy eggs. Finely chopped chilies and jalapenos to your liking, bit of tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, dash of vinegar and brown sugar to balance things out; mortar and pestle treatment to a paste (or food processor).
For the hash, I’d remove the green bell pepper, as the slippery skin provides a bitter taste, and is somewhat hard to caramelize. Not to mention, green peppers also tend to exude water, which would ruin the Maillard process on the hash. Grate potato into hash style strands, and then sweat off finely diced onions in a skillet with some oil. Once the onions are a bit caramelized and have lost much of their moisture, add it to the potato hash strands. Add an egg yolk or two, and save the whites. Mix together the hash, block them up, and fry em’ up in some butter until golden brown and delicious. This is more or less the crispy component.
For the Andouille sausage, leave em’ whole, and fry em up till golden brown and delicious.
Lastly, pancake, our soft chewy component…without the use of wheat flour. Take the egg whites you saved, and beat them until soft peaks have formed. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 a cup of almond flour, 1/4 a cup of almond butter, two eggs, and a pinch of baking soda. Add other flavorants if desired (mashed banana, some coconut milk, vanilla or almond extracts). Fold the beaten egg whites into the wet mixture. Dollop that into a pan to make pancakes approximately 4-6 inches in diameter. Done. No complicated science today.
That’s The Big Easy Rearrangement. Cheers.
Oh, and my avatar (Gravatar? Profile picture?) on this site is in this particular restaurant. I was drinking hot water.