Is it fall yet?
This is the time of year when the last weeks of summer drag on, with Halloween close enough for stores to carry decorations, but the cool days (or even nights) are still a good month away.
If you’re ready for a taste of fall without having to open the oven, check out these eggs-in-a-basket nestled in a hash made with sweet potatoes, thyme and, the season’s greatest gift, apples.
Amy Pennington’s new book "Apples: From Harvest to Table" (St. Martin’s Griffin, $21.99) will inspire you to look at apples in a new way, including dumplings, salads, sausages, sauteed side dishes and breakfast/brunch recipes like this one that can double as a one-dish dinner. It’s a short but insightful single-subject book that features 50 sweet but mostly savory recipes, as well as how-to guides on making pies, applesauce and even apple cider vinegar at home.
With each recipe, Pennington recommends specific apple and sometimes exotic varieties, and it’s a small detail that will make those of us who grew up around orchards pine for home.
I guess the holidays really are around the corner.
Sweet Potato, Thyme & Apple Hash with Egg Baskets
Sweet potatoes are fried up into crispy cubes and paired with thyme scented apples. Just before the hash is done, little "baskets" are made in the pan, and eggs are dropped in to cook alongside the vegetables. It is a perfect morning dish to get the day going — a well-balanced meal that is as healthy as it is delicious. Select firm apples that retain their shape when sautéed. Try Pippin, Cortland, or Granny Smith.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 medium sweet potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into medium dice
1 large apple, cored and cut into medium dice
4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (from about 10 sprigs)
4 large eggs
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted and beginning to fizz, add the onion, salt and pepper and cook until it’s just beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the diced sweet potato to the pan. Without stirring, cook the sweet potato until the first side is just browned, about 4 minutes. Toss and stir well, redistributing, and cook for another 2 minutes without stirring. Add the apple to the pan and cook, stirring often, until it’s just softening and is warmed through. By adding ingredients to the pan slowly, you’ll get sweet and nicely caramelized onion, crispy sweet potato, and just-cooked apple that will maintain its shape and texture.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and make four 2-inch-wide wells in the sauté pan. To do this, push the vegetables aside with a spoon. Make sure the pan still has a bit of grease (add some butter to each well, if needed), crack 1 egg into each well, and cover the sauté pan. After 2 minutes, remove the lid and stir the sweet potato and apple without disturbing the eggs. Replace the lid and cook until the eggs are done to your liking: another 2 minutes (for an "easy" yolk), or up to 6 minutes (for a "hard" yolk). Serve immediately alongside toast. Serves 4.
— From "Apples: From Harvest to Table" by Amy Pennington (St. Martin’s Griffin, $21.99)