I don’t know how Bon Appétit does it, but it’s like they read my mind with every issue. Carla Lalli Music’s piece in the January issue about the paradox of writing recipes for a living while never using them herself articulated the conflict I feel every time I put out (or cook from) a recipe, even though I really don’t think they’re necessary. I can’t wait for her book, Where Cooking Begins to come out next week, in fact it’s one of two books I’ve ever preordered and yes the other was also a cookbook. Seriously, not even considering the recipes that are sure to be delicious and adaptable, if this book can even teach me how to navigate the nightmare that is grocery shopping in New York City, it will have done wonders for me. Like me, Carla loves going to the grocery store, and after my first trip to a Manhattan Trader Joe’s, I was worried that New York was going to take that joy from me. But as I was listening to Carla talk on the BA Foodcast about how she loves going to the store and picking out her own produce, I felt confident that there’s a way to do it and keep your sanity.
Is any of this relevant to this awesome breakfast skillet? Kind of. First of all, I’m not giving you a recipe for this guy. I’m going to take a page from BA’s Cooking Without Recipes series and give you a guide that you can use to recreate this exact skillet if you want, or to make one suited to your tastes.
Historically, I’ve never been one to pay much attention to the skillets on brunch menus, I usually prefer all my items separate instead of piled together on one cast iron beauty. But over the past six months or so that’s been changing. I’ve found myself reading brunch menus before I go and actively seeking out skillets. While some things I think are still better off separate (hello corned beef hash), I’ve found myself loving skillets. Especially veggie heavy skillets. They almost make you feel like going to brunch is healthy! This guy was inspired by my newly found infatuation with sweet potatoes. If you know me, you know I’m not crazy about this popular veggie. I don’t know what it is, I’ve just always preferred regular. But lately I’ve been really craving them. So naturally, the girl who doesn’t like breakfast skillets or sweet potatoes is bringing you a sweet potato breakfast skillet.
So how can you make this guy?
- Pick your veggies – you definitely want something carby (basically sweet potatoes or regular potatoes), because hello this is brunch. You’re also going to want something green, something earthy, and an allium that can get nice and caramelized. I went with sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, cremini mushrooms, and yellow onions. I’ve also done this with regular potatoes, broccoli, white mushrooms, and shallots. You could go Asian inspired and do purple sweet potatoes, bok choy, shitakes, and scallions, or literally any combination that makes you excited to eat.
- I’ve had better luck either parboiling my veggies or roasting them ahead of time and then just cripsing them up and adding seasoning in the pan, so pick your cooking method. If you’re patient you could probably cook everything in the skillet, but I’m not. Season according to whatever flavor profile you’re going for. I used garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
- Decide on any additional proteins – this would be good with just egg, but feel free to add to it if you’ve got stuff lying around or just feel like it. I threw in some Trader Joe’s vegan chorizo, cause it’s amazing, but you could also use regular chorizo, bacon, sausage, whatever.
- How do you want your eggs? – I go through phases with this question. Right now, I can’t imagine a skillet without a little runny yolk swimming through. But sometimes I find myself grossed out by that and can only imagine scrambled. Whatever floats your boat.
- Cheese! – Because honestly, what is a breakfast skillet without a cheese pull. Pick a cheese to match your flavor profile or whatever you’re trying to use up. Stick it under the broiler, top with eggs and hot sauce, and eat!