August 15, 2012

Breakfast Stack

For years and years, I was a cereal-for-breakfast kind of girl.  All through high school and college, a bowl of cereal was the only thing I could even imagine eating in the morning (minus the occasional restaurant or diner breakfast, of course).  After a couple years of grad school, I gradually changed my daily schedule to include a morning workout.  After a sweaty gym session, a simple bowl of carbs didn't quite do the trick.  Now, I tend to crave something salty and savory (and sometimes spicy) instead (I've even blogged about a few savory breakfast items before).  But-- what to do for a special breakfast on the weekend??  While we still make pancakes with impressive frequency, I recently pulled together a "Breakfast Stack" for a satisfying post-run brunch.

Not THIS kind of stack!
With four components of the "stack," (no seriously, I didn't make up this term), it did take a bit of preplanning to pull together the necessary ingredients.  I also was forced to use an ensemble of kitchen appliances, so.. don't make this on a day you won't have time for dishes.

Layer One
The bottom layer takes the most amount of prep and cook work.  I had a spare sweet potato, so decided on a simple variation of sweet potato latkes.  Into a small bowl I added:

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated
2 tbsp. whole wheat flour
1 flax egg (1 tbsp. ground flax + 3 tbsp. water)
2 tbsp. chopped green onion
salt + pepper

The mixture was a little loose, but I was able to scoop it into two handfuls and press them into a heated pan with a generous amount of olive oil.  Fried about four minutes on each side, the grated potato has plenty of time to cook through, and the edges had a chance to crisp up.  I could easily eat these on their own for breakfast (or dinner) any day, so next time I'll have to triple the batch.

Layer Two
After that (semi) work intensive opener, I added a layer of smoked salmon atop the sweet potato cake.  A bit of a splurge (price wise), but the cool, salty fish is one of my favorite foods-- all of my favorite breakfast dishes include it!

Layer Three
In my opinion, the cornerstone of a savory breakfast dish is the egg.  I typically eat an egg or two fried in a bit of olive oil, but for this dish, I saved the frying for the potatoes.  A poached egg allows for the desired runny yolk without the extra oil-- plus, it gives the stack a bit of an Eggs Benedict feel.  I handed this job over to J, who pulled off perfect poached eggs-- gently dropped into a pot of gently boiling water (spiked with a hefty splash of white vinegar), the whites firm up in just a minute or two.  (Notice: The consumption of raw or undercooked eggs may increase your risk of... just kidding!).

Layer Four
The final "layer" is a slight variation of a sauce I've found myself making at least once a week this summer- I refer to it as an avocado cream.  Avocado is a great addition to savory breakfasts- it's technically a fruit, but the rich flavor, creamy texture, and healthy dose of unsaturated fats brings a little something special to the morning meal.  For the sauce, I combined...

1/2 avocado (increase 1/4 avocado per serving)
2 tbsp. low fat sour cream
juice of 1/4 lemon
pinch of salt

...into a small food processor.  If you're feeling lazy and have a super ripe avocado, feel free to just mash everything together.  The high speed spin in the processor gives an amazingly smooth texture, but the flavors are the most important.  I wouldn't leave out the lemon or salt- the lemon helps the sauce keep it's bright green color and the salt really amplifies the flavor.

Spooned over the top of the egg, it didn't do much for the looks of the dish, but provided a cooling effect to each bite.  The hot-cold-hot-cold layers of the stack made for a fun contrast, and the egg yolk, salmon, and avocado combination was a trifecta of richness.  Served with a few pieces of ripe summer peaches, it made for a complete meal with so many of my favorite foods.

Is anyone else a savory breakfast fan?  I'd love to hear some new ideas!

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