We must have potatoes in this house. It would be an Irish sin to not have potatoes. Shauna once lived with an Irish actor who insisted that every day be accompanied by potatoes. Even if the chef made risotto, he needed potatoes on the side. She didn’t mind it either. Potatoes with butter is one of life’s simplest pleasures.
When I first began working in restaurants as a cook, in my late teens, I was the breakfast cook two days a week at a great greasy spoon called the Horseshoe. That’s when my mother taught me the phrase, “If you dance, you have to pay the fiddler.” Even if I was hung over and exhausted, I had to make the eggs well. I knew how breakfast service would be by how my first over easy eggs came out. Focus, dance on the balls of the feet, and flip. It’s still how I judge my day, by how the eggs come out.
If someone wants to come to my restaurant to work for me, the first thing I’d say is, “Cook me an egg.” If you can’t do a nice egg over easy, and you burn the potatoes, you’re not going to be paying attention to the rest of your day.
For the potatoes:
¼ cup kosher salt
2 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, washed and cut into large-bite-sized cubes
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 sprig rosemary
½ onion, sliced and core removed (French cut)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheating the oven. Turn on the oven to 450°.
Blanching the potatoes. Fill a large saucepan ¾ full with cold water. Pour in the salt. (You might need more. The water should taste like the ocean.) Place the potatoes in the cold water with the garlic and rosemary. Turn on the heat to high.
Bring to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are fork tender. Drain the potatoes immediately.
Roasting the potatoes. Bring a large sauté pan to high heat. When the pan starts to smoke, toss the potatoes into the pan. Throw in the onions and the remaining three garlic cloves and toss them both around. Add the oil and toss to coat.
Slide the pan into the oven. Toss the potatoes around in the pain, making sure that none of them stick. Roast the potatoes until they are brown and crisp on all sides, without burning the garlic or onions, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the pan
and discard the garlic and onions.
Cooking the eggs: Bring a small sauté pan to medium-high heat. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl it around the pan; don’t put too much oil in the pan or you might get burned when you flip the eggs. Crack two of the eggs into a small bowl. Slowly pour the eggs into the hot pan.
Allow the whites to coagulate, they should turn white as a sheet and firm up. Swirl the eggs around in the pan, slowly and gently. Bring the yolks toward the top half of the pan.
Take the sauté pan away from the heat, swirl it, and tilt the pan away from you a bit, and downward. To flip the eggs, gently but quickly step forward onto the balls of your feet, and flip the eggs up and toward you, moving back on your feet as you do it. Move the yolks to the top of the pan and flip them again.
If the eggs flip the first time, you’re going to have a good day.
If they flip perfectly, and are glossy and shiny, that’s going to be a beautiful day.
To serve, place the potatoes on a plate and slide the eggs out onto them. Repeat with remaining oil and eggs.
Substitutions: You can use canola or grapeseed oil instead of olive oil. Try different herbs every time you make these.
Suggestions: Don’t overcook the potatoes. Don’t worry if they’re not perfect. If the eggs stick, use a bit more oil and a rubber spatula to free them from the pan. I’ve made my share of eggs over easy, and some of them still come out imperfect. Practice.