First, some context. I'm writing this from a large light-filled living room nestled in the middle of a house in Nyack, a tiny town about an hour north of the city, where I've spent the weekend quietly reading, writing and cooking with Grayson and a couple of our dearest friends. The house sits on top of the highest point in town, so while the sun is starting to set, light still brightly shines through the windows, casting a glow on the shelves in the room around me, which are lined with books about film, dusty old records, and beautiful collection of old photographs. It's the kind of space that's so comfortably lived in and inviting, with bright white linens effortlessly draped over the arms of the sofa, yet there's still something thoughtful and meticulous about the way the furniture's been chosen and carefully arranged. I'm wrapped in a big white duvet and in the day and a half that we've been here, I've already read Jerusalem and Plenty cover to cover. Peeking out the window, the giant magnolia tree is in full bloom. If this scene sounds perfect, well, I'd say it's pretty close.
Now, the recipe. I first tried Alex and Lyman's sweet potato breakfast hash during a trip to North Fork for Thanksgiving last November, and it was a meal to remember. Following an evening of too much wine and a rowdy round of poker, they whipped up a batch for brunch and filled our growling stomachs to the brim. It's a dish that they refer to by shorthand, "their hash", a staple in their recipe repertoire. I loved the opportunity to observe them together in the kitchen; Lyman peeled and chopped the onions, quickly scooping them into a thick sauce pan with a pad of butter and a splash of bourbon, then passed the knife to Alex, who diced the sweet potatoes into tiny pieces. They knew the recipe by heart and thoughtfully coordinated each step of the way, sometimes without even speaking, pulling me in occasionally to peel garlic or pull fresh rosemary from its woody stems.
After pulling the hash out of the oven, we headed out back to share the fruits of our labor under the bright morning sun. We carefully carried out gold-rimmed dishware and mismatched silver, relishing in our opportunity to properly set a table and enjoy a meal in a spacious backyard. Orson romped around, chewing on every stick he could find, a luxury he's usually only afforded in the park, while we readily dug into heaping piles of hash. We stayed outside long after the hash was gone, slowly sipping coffee, pretending to be homeowners.
Sweet Potato Hash with Bourbon Glazed Onions, Sausage and Rosemary
> 6 sweet potatoes
> 3 medium-sized yellow onions
> 1 head garlic
> 1 pound Italian sausage
> 2 tablespoons butter
> 4 tablespoons olive oil
> 1 tablespoon bourbon
> 4 stalks rosemary, chopped finely
> 4 eggs
> 1/2 cup parmesan, or enough to serve
> 1 tablespoon salt
> Pepper to taste
1. Slice the onions in half lengthwise, cut into strips, and cut the strips in half, so that the chopped pieces are about 1 inch in size. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Add the onions and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally so they don't stick to the pan. They should be dark brown in color. As the onions finish cooking, add the bourbon to the pan, stir, and cook for 2 more minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 450 degrees. Chop the sweet potatoes into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Crush the garlic and finely chop. Add the chopped garlic, caramelized onions, salt, rosemary, pepper and olive oil to the mixing bowl with the sweet potatoes.
4. Cut the sausage into small pieces and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the sausage and any excess juices to the mixing bowl.
5. Mix all ingredients together, and pour onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, or a cast-iron skillet. Spread evenly. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
6. During the last few minutes that the hash is in the oven, fry the eggs on the stovetop. Once the hash has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and place the eggs on top. Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and parmesan to serve.