Summer is slowly getting itself settled here in the Pacific Northwest, and I am getting impatient. We had one burst of glorious summer weather this weekend– the kind that makes me otherwise tolerate PNW weather for the rest of the year, but now the rain is back. Add to it word that our CSA will be starting up in a little over two weeks and I am super fidgety! I’ve been falling into a little bit of a creative rut lately and am looking forward to the surprise collection of produce each week to restart my engines.
In the meantime, the only “surprise collection” of ingredients to be had around here are those in my refrigerator– leftovers. I loved these two dishes (yes two) since I did well with improvising with bits and pieces found in my fridge and pantry, didn’t let things go to waste, and refurbished a dish from leftovers of previous leftovers.
To begin, I made a zucchini hash out of a couple of zucchini and potatoes I had leftover from ingredients for other meals. This hash served as a side for dinner one night. I pan-fried chunks of Yukon gold potatoes in a cast iron skillet and tossed in slivers of sautéed onion, zucchini, and mushrooms. This was a great vegetable side dish since the potatoes were crispy and starchy, a great contrast to the slightly sweet but softened squash. A chiffonade of fresh basil, the final dregs from last summer’s indoor plant, added a bright refreshing anise flavor to the vegetables.
We ate what we could, and I stored what was left (about 1.5 cups) away in the fridge, half expecting that I would forget about its existence as it would get pushed to the back of the fridge by other leftovers and ingredients only to be found weeks later, icy yet moldy to be tossed into the food waste bin for compost; however, fortune must have smiled upon this particular Tupperware of leftover hash. I spied it a couple of days later while looking for inspiration for a Saturday breakfast. Joining the squash hash was half of a turkey kielbasa (leftover from this guy) and some crumbled ricotta salata from a pasta dish we’d eaten earlier in the week. Topped with poached eggs, this side dish was born again into a bright and happy breakfast. Once summer decides it’s here to stay, I know what I’ll be making when overwhelmed with zucchini and summer squash!
Note: This recipe makes enough hash for a side dish and a breakfast for two. If serving four for breakfast, double the amount of sausage, cheese, and eggs.
- canola oil
- 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 medium zucchini, diced into 1 inch cubes
- 1/2 large sweet onion, sliced into half-moon slivers
- 6 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium clove of garlic, minced (about 3/4 teaspoon)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chiffonade
- 1/2 turkey kielbasa, diced
- 1/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata (or other dry, salty cheese of your choice such as cotija, feta, or Parmigiano reggiano)
- 2 eggs
In a large cast iron skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium high heat. Add the potatoes and try to maintain a single layer to ensure that each piece makes contact with the oil and the pan. Fry undisturbed for about 5 minutes. Potato pieces will be easily turned without sticking once they have formed a good crust so don’t try stirring them before the 5 minutes is up and if they don’t easily give, then let them cook for a couple of minutes more before you try turning them. Use a spatula to flip over the potato pieces and sear the other sides for another 5-10 minutes or so, adjusting heat as necessary to avoid burning.
In the meantime, heat another 2 teaspoons of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the zucchini, mushrooms and garlic and sautee for 7-10 minutes or until zucchini has softened but is still a little firm. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Combine zucchini mixture with crisped potatoes and top with basil chiffonade. Serve as a side, reserving a 1.5 cups to make breakfast hash.
To make the breakfast hash, reheat the zucchini and potatoes in the microwave. Heat about half a tablespoon of canola oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, and like the potatoes, cook undisturbed for at least 5 minutes so that the sausage can caramelize. Using a spatula, flip over the sausage pieces and continue to cook for another 10 minutes flipping occasionally but not often and adjusting heat as necessary to avoid burning. Stir in the reheated zucchini squash then plate, topping with eggs cooked however you like them. Crumble cheese on top and serve.