On more than one occasion, a mistake in the kitchen has led to an improvement on an old recipe or an altogether new recipe. I have cut recipes in half, only to mindlessly use the number of eggs meant for the full recipe. I have used baking soda instead of powder, spilled a little too much liquid into the mixing bowl, and completely forgotten to add the sugar to a cheesecake.
The cheesecake wasn’t so good. But the other recipes mishaps I mentioned actually taught me something. In the case of the first recipe listed below, I was certain I had a bag of frozen broccoli in my freezer. When there was no broccoli to speak of—and no spinach for an easy substitute or time to run to the grocery store—I worked with what I had.
Instead of filling my cheesy potato crust with the intended ingredients, I scrambled some eggs and topped this makeshift meal with chopped tomatoes, avocado and a little crisp bacon. Then I finished it off with a sprinkle of sharp cheddar and gave it a quick broil to melt the cheese. Just like the versatile omelet, toppings or mix-ins may be varied according to taste. That said, if you like eggs, this dish is perfectly delicious with just the eggs and cheese. As an added bonus, the ingredients are easy to have on hand and the crust may be prepared in advance and reheated for a super-speedy meal.
The crust itself is simple yet surprisingly tasty. Shredded cheese flavors the potatoes–no butter or additional fat needed–while the eggs serve as a binder and enhance the texture. Whereas a flour crust can become mushy when wet ingredients are added, this base stands up quite well to various fillings. What essentially began as a gluten-free alternative to a regular quiche crust has become a go-to base for many different recipes.
My improvised meal was so well liked that I have made this “mistake” on purpose many times since. In general, eggs are a popular dinner in our house, and I find I have more time to be creative with them in the evening than first thing in the morning. That said, the following recipes would be perfect for breakfast or brunch. I have even reheated the last portion, cut it into small wedges, and served in toasted mini bagels for speedy breakfast sandwiches. They’re rather tasty!
Yields 4-6 servings
- 3 cups shredded hash brown-style potatoes, thawed (not the cubed variety)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 8 eggs, divided
- 3 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 1/2 an avocado, diced
Squeeze excess moisture from the hash browns. (I like to wrap them in a clean tea towel and wring out the extra water.) Then mix with 3/4 cup cheese and 2 of the eggs which have been lightly beaten.
Press the mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate and bake at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are crispy and golden brown.
Meanwhile, on your stovetop, scramble the remaining 6 eggs in a medium-size skillet. Place the cooked eggs in the hot crust, and sprinkle with the bacon, tomato and avocado.
Top with the remaining 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese (or 1/2 cup if you like it cheesier). If desired, broil for about a minute, watching closely, or until cheese is just melted.
…and the originally-intended recipe — Potato Crusted Broccoli and Bacon Frittata