Smoked Trout Hash with Poached Eggs and Tomatillo Salsa
To make this beloved breakfast standby, Cafe Pasqual’s chef and owner Katharine Kagel tops a crisp potato pancake with two perfectly poached eggs, flakes of smoked trout, and a piquant, spinach-flecked salsa. Be sure to let the potatoes cool completely before grating. You can substitute any smoked white fish of your choice for the trout; smoked bluefish also works beautifully. To keep the salsa on the milder side, omit the chile de árbol, use only one jalapeño, and remove all membranes and seeds from the jalapeño before adding. If fresh chiles de árbol aren’t readily available, a fresh Thai or serrano chile can be used instead. Leftover salsa can be eaten as a dip for tortilla chips, drizzled over tacos, soups, and stews, or served atop grilled fish or chicken.
- 12 large tomatillos, husked and rinsed
- 2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed and cut in half
- 1/2 small white onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- 1 fresh chile de árbol, stemmed and seeded
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Hash Brown Potato Cakes:
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
- 5 ounces grated Gruyère cheese (about 1 generous cup)
- 1/3 cup finely minced fresh chives or scallions
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 large organic eggs
- 1 pound smoked trout, flaked into bite-size pieces
- Handful of finely chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, or chives
To make the salsa: Put all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until liquefied. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Transfer to a bowl. You can make the salsa up to 1 day in advance and store it in the refrigerator.
To make the potato cakes: Fill a very large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil and then carefully add the potatoes. Cook for 20 minutes in bubbling water, until the potatoes are just barely fork-tender. Do not overcook or the potatoes will crumble. Drain the potatoes and let cool completely (this can take 3 to 4 hours; the potatoes can also be cooked a day ahead of time and refrigerated).
Grate the potatoes on a box grater into a large bowl. Add the cheese, chives, salt, and
pepper. Using clean hands, gently toss to combine.
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Heat a 7-inch nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat and add one quarter of the butter, tipping the pan to cover the surface. Add one quarter of the potato mixture (about 2 cups) and pat down with a spatula to form a large pancake. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, using the spatula to loosen the edges of the pancake from the sides of the pan and shake the pan occasionally to make sure the bottom is not sticking. Once the underside is golden brown, flip the pancake over and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. (Be careful when flipping the pancake to avoid breaking it apart and burning yourself. One way to do this is to place a cake pan on top of the sauté pan, hold both pans together with oven mitts, and turn the whole thing upside down, so that the pancake drops onto the underside of the cake pan. Then, slide the pancake back into the sauté pan so that the uncooked side is on the bottom now. If the pancake breaks apart, just press it back into shape with the spatula.)
Slip the pancake onto an ovenproof plate and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat until all four pancakes are made, placing sheets of parchment paper between them.
To poach the eggs, fill a small saucepan with a couple inches of water. Bring the water to a bare simmer. Cook the eggs one at a time: Crack each egg into a cup, slip it into the water, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the white is opaque but the yolk is still runny. Repeat with the remaining eggs and drain on paper towels.
In a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, gently heat the trout until warmed through.
Place the poached eggs on top of the potato pancakes. Surround with the warmed trout and drizzle a generous tablespoon of salsa across the eggs. Garnish with herbs and serve with additional tomatillo salsa on the side.