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Rocking Breakfast – Recipe #14

February 19, 2016

Tomorrow morning I’m headed out of town. That means once again I’ll be missing Josh Coletto’s Rock N Roll Brunch at The Low Beat in Albany. I swear he checks my calendar before booking these events, and finds those weekends I can’t come just to torture me.

A long long time ago, we struck a deal. I’d help him promote these events in exchange for one of his recipes. Just earlier this week I made a modified version of his crispy tongue steaks. And while Mrs. Fussy wouldn’t touch the stuff, both kids gobbled them down. They were delicious.

But today’s recipe isn’t about tongue. It’s about breakfast sauces.

The great American breakfast is drowning in ketchup. It is. And this isn’t just an Albany problem, or even an upstate New York problem. It’s a capital P Problem. But a few people are doing something about it. My friend Constantine who owns the Americana Diner outside of Princeton took ketchup off the tables. For that, I salute him.

Instead, on every breakfast plate, he added two slow roasted plum tomatoes. Without adding any table sugar or corn syrup to the plate, those tomatoes added much of the ketchup experience. Of course, if someone asked for ketchup, the ketchup would quickly and happily be delivered to the table. But the net result of this small shift was a noticeable and meaningful decline in the use of ketchup.

It has to be frustrating to care about the food you are putting on every plate, and to see it get reflexively drowned in sugar and vinegar, without even being tasted first. Chef Josh hadn’t heard the Americana Diner story. But he offered up this recipe from Rock N Roll Brunch XX, with the following explanation, “I just wish this would replace Catsup on every table in America.”

Harissa

Ingredients:
10 Guajillo chiles, deseeded (or whatever you have lying around for dried chilies)
4 Cascatel chiles, deseeded
2 Cups piquillo peppers
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon caraway seed
3 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
1 Teaspoon cayenne
2 Tablespoons honey
¼ Cup sherry vinegar
½ Cup olive oil

Directions:
1) Combine deseeded guajillos and and cascatels (what whatever chile combo you feel like) in a container, pour enough boiling water over them to cover. Allow to rehydrate for 20 minutes or so.
2) While the chiles are rehydrating, combine all ingredients except the olive oil.
3) Drain the now rehydrated chiles, and add to blender.
4) Crank up the blender and let it rip until smooth.
5) Once pureed, keep the blender going and slowly drizzle in the ½ cup olive oil.
6) Put in a container and enjoy with everything you eat.


Well, that seems easy enough. Especially because I just got a line in on some good paprika. Apparently much of what’s on the market now is no longer Hungarian, but Hungarian-style, which is likely to come from China and not be as robustly flavored.

If you do go to The Low Beat on Sunday, I’d say to go early, because the breakfast burger sounds amazing. Local beef, house bun, bacon, egg, pimento cheese, and crispy onion? Sign me up. But Josh is also making a Climbing Tree Farm goose awarma as part of the Lebanese breakfast, and that also sounds great. Here’s the rest of the menu if you’re curious.

There’s no harissa on the menu this time. But I bet if you made your own, Josh wouldn’t mind at all if you put some on your burger.

Have a great weekend. I’ll be back on Monday.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2016 11:00 am

    That is a weird harissa recipe… I use a lot of harissa, just buy the stuff in the yellow tube with the chilis on it. That is some good stuff.

  2. February 21, 2016 12:10 pm

    check out Mountain Rose Herbs, they have real Hungarian smoked paprika that is just stunning

  3. February 21, 2016 2:30 pm

    Tara Kitchen in Schenectady bottles their Harissa. It’s full of flavor, and will clean out your sinuses too.

    http://www.tarakitchen.com/new-products-2/harissa-smokey-spicy-sweet

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