Today in an unusual move, I decided to have a typical breakfast item at breakfast. On the heels of yesterday’s post about Ugly Food, it seemed appropriate for me to try and make something that looks good from an ingredient that is ugly. Duxelles is that ingredient.
Duxelles is a finely minced mix of mushrooms, shallot (sweet onion, leek, etc) and garlic that is cooked over mostly low heat until it resembles a paste. It has a deep mushroom flavor and is seen in a Beef Wellington between the roast and the pastry crust.
Beef Wellington is not on my menu list but Duxelles is wonderful in an omelet, as a spread on crackers or bread, or stuffed inside anything you want to provide with big mushroom flavor. It is Ugly Food, but I did include a recipe at the end.
I wanted a full breakfast, so time for hash browns. Onions first. I finely diced a slice of sweet onion and tossed it into a pan with olive oil on low heat while I diced the potato. Cooking for one means half a russet potato is plenty. A medium fine dice means that breakfast won’t take too long. Once the onion is to my liking, it is removed to a side bowl since to cook it with the potatoes would mean burnt bitter onion.
More olive oil into the already hot pan and after just a moment for the oil to heat, in go the potatoes. Salt, pepper and chipotle molido (dried smoked jalapeno powder). I cooked the potatoes on medium high heat and watched them closely. Brown is good but burned is bad. It is necessary to give enough time for browning to occur and then give a quick toss or stir so the small cubes color on other sides somewhat evenly.
When the potatoes are almost done, the non-stick egg pan goes on medium heat. A good chunk of butter goes in for flavor. Once hot, the heat is turned down to low and in go two scrambled eggs with just a hint of dried thyme. Thyme is a strong flavor, but just a little bit perfumes them and plays well with the mushrooms.
I like my omelet in the French style which has no color to the egg and considered by many of my friends to be woefully uncooked. I gladly overcook eggs for them but for myself, well, I really like runny scrambled eggs.
You have surely seen an omelet cooked by Gordon Ramsey or Jacque Pepin at some point so I will move on to the important parts. Cook the egg to please yourself. When close to done, add the duxelles in the center of the disc and top with little bits of fresh whole milk ricotta cheese. Fold the egg over the fillings and remove to a plate. Add the hash browns and have your complete breakfast.
Two issues for me today. The first is the obvious fail as I tried to flip the omelet onto the plate nicely. Pretty was the aim and today was not my day for that. Be assured, the eggs were cooked to my liking and tasted great. My next fail was to forget to add the onions back to the potatoes. Hunger had me eat immediately after plating and when I was cleaning up, there were the onions in a ¼ cup measure right where I had left them.
Also in the not so pretty category was my terrible attempt to sprinkle just a bit of dried chipotle molido on top. I usually put the powder in my hand and use a pinch at a time to get a nice even coverage. I tried to shake just a bit from the bottle and you can see what happens when one tries that. Also, smoked paprika has a better color for this. It is more red and less brownish. At least the potatoes have a good color on them.
Duxelles Ricotta Omelet
Please forgive me for yet another failed pretty food attempt. My palate is pleased and my stomach is full. I still eat ugly food.
- 1 lb mixed Mushrooms, this batch 8 oz Shiitake & 8 oz Crimini
- ¼ cup finely diced sweet onion or shallot
- 1 clove garlic, crushed and finely diced
- 4 tbsp butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Clean mushrooms by brush or under running water
- Remove stems from Shiitakes, save stems for mushroom stock
- Finely dice mushrooms or use food processor. If using machine be careful not to over chop
- Dice onion or shallot
- Crush and dice garlic
- Melt 2 tbsp butter in 10 inch skillet over medium to medium high flame
- Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Toss or stir to distribute butter
- When the mushrooms start to release their water, turn flame to low and cook until all water is evaporated stirring frequently. This may take 15-20 minutes. Add more butter if needed. They should look fairly dry when done. Taste and adjust seasoning