Make a sweet Valentine’s breakfast with these potato pancakes

12:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 Austin360 Eats
“Fresh: Simple, Delicious Recipes to Make You Feel Energized!” by Donal Skehan

Americans aren’t the only people who love potatoes for breakfast.

Hashbrowns are on the menu at just about every diner in the country, but in Switzerland, you’ll find an equally beloved potato dish called rosti, which is more like a potato pancake and is now on brunch menus around the world, including Bonhomie in Austin.

Irish chef Donal Skehan published this sweet potato rosti in his 2017 book “Fresh: Simple, Delicious Recipes to Make You Feel Energized!” He serves it with a poached egg, sauteed spinach and a hollandaise sauce made with coconut oil instead of butter.

Poached Egg, Sweet Potato Rosti and Hollandaise

One of my favorite breakfasts in the whole world is eggs Benedict — I find it pretty hard to resist if I spot it on a breakfast menu. Traditionally it’s a ridiculously rich dish with a butter-laden sauce (no wonder it tastes good!), but I have been making a great alternative that swaps the English muffin with a crispy, sweet potato rosti, bumps up the nutrition with some pan-fried spinach and cuts out the butter by making a coconut oil-based hollandaise.

— Donal Skehan

For the sweet potato rosti:

1 large sweet potato (or 2 smaller ones), peeled and coarsely grated

1 large egg

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons coconut oil

For the hollandaise:

2 egg yolks

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

4 large free-range eggs

2 teaspoons coconut oil

5 cups spinach, tough stalks removed

Small handful of fresh chives, finely chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Start with the sweet potato rosti. Place the grated sweet potato in a large bowl and crack in the egg. Season with salt and black pepper, and stir well to combine. Place a large, ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Place 4 heaping tablespoons of the mixture into the hot oil and press down to create little flat cakes. Fry until golden, and then flip to the other side. Place the whole pan in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until cooked all the way through.

For the hollandaise, fill a blender with hot water while you prepare the rest of the sauce ingredients. Pour out the water when you are ready to start. The heat of the blender will help the sauce emulsify and thicken. Add the egg yolks and lemon juice, then blend until smooth. While the mixer is still on, slowly add in the melted coconut oil until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, then season with salt and pepper.

To poach the eggs, fill a pan with about 2 inches of water, then bring to a boil. Add a pinch of sea salt and the vinegar. Lower the heat to a very gentle simmer, and crack the eggs into the water right at the surface. (You may find it easier to break each egg into a cup and slide it gently into the water.) Cook for 3 to 4 minutes before removing with a slotted spoon and draining on paper towels.

Meanwhile, cook the spinach. Melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and wilt the spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Drain off any excess water and keep warm.

To serve, place the sweet potato rosti on four plates, divide the spinach among them, and top each with a poached egg. Top with a generous amount of the hollandaise sauce, the chopped chives and a grind of black pepper. Serves 4.

— From “Fresh: Simple, Delicious Recipes to Make You Feel Energized!” by Donal Skehan (Sterling Epicure, $24.95)