“You’ve never been to a Waffle House?” Wif asked, in the tone of disbelief she reserves for when she discovers that my New Jersey upbringing never exposed me to wonders only found in the Southern United States. Other such wonders include distilleries in barns and rampant illiteracy.
“No. I mean, maybe on a trip to Hilton Head or something, but I don’t remember.”
“Oh my God, they have, like, six different kinds of hash. Scattered, smothered, uh, covered…”
“Ok, I don’t really care. It only matters what we’re doing right…”
“Oh, and chunked! Chunked is when they add ham. Scattered is when they spread it out over the grill and get it extra brown, I think.”
“Again, I don’t really care ’cause I know how to make hash whether Waffle House has a name for it or not.”
“You’re no fun.”
Despite being no fun, I can make good hash.
For the Hash:
- 8 medium red potatoes (about two per person) sliced in the food processor with the grater disk
- 1 medium onion processed with the grater disk
- 1/4 pound sliced country ham, or whatever ham you have available
- 1 poblano pepper; heat directly on the burner to blacken the skin; let cool, and remove the skin
- A solid handful of herbs, diced at the last minute (whatever you’re in the mood for — we used a combination of rosemary, oregano, chives, and marjoram)
- 3 tblsps of neutral oil (peanut, canola, or vegetable)
- Plenty of Salt and pepper to taste
Heat griddle or pan to medium-high. Add oil. Saute potatoes, ham, and onions. Let brown and stir every 5 minutes or so, making sure to let the potatoes brown (i.e. don’t touch them every two seconds; be patient and wait a full 5 minutes or longer, depending on desired browness). When about 75% of the hash is browned, you’re probably done. Dice the herbs and throw them in at the last minute.
For the Ketchup:
- 1 lb. tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 5 little thai chilis, diced
- 2 tbsps neutral oil (peanut, canola, or vegetable)
- Lots of salt and pepper to taste
Heat pan. Add oil. Saute onion on medium heat till translucent (about3-5 minutes). Add the diced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer on low for half an hour or so. Put everything in a blender or food processor and puree. If it’s thick enough, you’re good. If not, cook it some more.
For the Eggs:
- 1-2 eggs per person
- 1 cup of white wine vinegar
- A little salt to taste
- Chives or other herb to decorate the top of the egg
Fill a pot with water, and add a cup or so of white vinegar. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Add eggs (but not more than 3-4 at once because it will get the water too cold) and simmer for about 3 minutes for a medium egg and 4 minutes for a large egg if you want the yolks runny (and why wouldn’t you?).