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Living alone is certainly not without its charm – the pleasures of walking around naked, knowing the dishes will never be left undone unless you left them, and belting out an earsplitting off-key rendition of “Our Lips Are Sealed” in the shower at 6:00 AM cannot be denied.  But living alone also means you eat a lot of the same things, over and over and over and over until you want to “accidentally” squirt dish soap all over them and go see if Popeye’s is really as bad as you remember it.  This is particularly true if you, like me, were raised in an Irish (Italian, Jewish, etc.) household and are incapable of cooking by any other quantity than “truckload.”

To avoid the dish soap garnish, you have to get creative with repurposing.  Like sex in a long-term marriage, it’s not that you don’t love the original recipe just the way it is… but if you get the occasional opportunity to pretend it’s something entirely different, you’re a lot less likely to cheat on it with some greasy fried chicken.  Or, uh, something.

Anyway, got a bunch of leftover Sweet Potato Home Fries staring you down from the fridge?  Read on.

Sweet Potato and Bacon Hash

This is such an easy, fast, and delicious breakfast that you may find yourself making too many sweet potato oven fries on purpose – which is highly encouraged.  Making 6 sweet potatoes’ worth of them is basically the same as making 2, so why get the dishes dirty twice?

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First of all, put coffee on.  Good god, this is breakfast.  We are not animals.

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Now you’re ready!  Cut the bacon into small lardons.

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The colder the bacon is, the more easily and cleanly it will cut.  So don’t do anything stupid like, say, pause to take pictures.  Cut it right out of the fridge.

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Things move pretty fast once the food hits the heat, so you’ll want to get your egg ready ahead of time as well.  Beat one egg with a splash of milk, a sprinkle of salt, and a grind of black pepper.  I ordinarily do a little bit more with my eggs, seasoning-wise, but there are a lot of other flavors going on in this dish – best to keep the eggs simple.

All right, let’s hit it!

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Render the bacon over high heat just until it starts to bubble properly, then drop the heat to medium.  I like to start the bacon in a wee bit of fat, just to get the juices flowing.  Vegetable or olive oil will work just fine, but if you’re hung over, I recommend butter.  (Oh, like you’ve never thought of frying bacon in butter.)

You want to render out a good bit of bacon fat, but stop juuuuust shy of total crispy doneness on the lardons.

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Bring the heat back up to high, and add the sweet potatoes.

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Heat them through and crisp up the outsides – won’t take longer than a couple of minutes.  Keep them moving; both bacon and sweet poatoes are eager to burn if you’ll let them.

Kill the heat and pour in the egg.  There’s more than enough residual heat in the pan to scramble it.

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Give it a quick stir to curdle the eggs.  (I warn you now: these will not be the most appealing eggs you’ve ever seen.  The seasonings on the potatoes and the fond from the bacon will impart a sort of grayish-brown hue.  Just remember that garnishes cover a multitude of sins.)  Once the eggs look slightly underdone, plate it up – remember the #1 rule of scrambled eggs: If they look done in the pan, they’ll be overdone on the plate!

Finally, snip a bunch of chives over the top.  Don’t skip this step!  It’s more than a garnish; it also imparts a much-needed fresh, sharp, oniony note to cut through the richness of the rest of the dish.  (As a variation, you can skip scrambling in the egg and simply snip chives over the top of the potatoes and bacon, and you have yourself quite a serviceable hashbrown alternative.)

Enjoy!  The potatoes are sweet and spicy, the bacon is salty and crispy, the eggs are creamy, and the chives are kicking the whole thing in the side with a pair of steel-toed boots.  You have achieved what many thought was impossible: creating a breakfast so complete in itself that it does not need cheese.

Isn’t living alone grand?  Just watch out for trying to cook this while walking around naked – bacon splatters.

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