It's Peak Season for Vegetable Hash
We are currently celebrating the ultimate bounty of the markets, our dinners filled with vegetables off the grill, steamed sweet corn on the cob, potatoes baked in the coals, or cooked alongside other vegetables in the roasting pan. And with the spirit of abundance that accompanies these fecund months, there are almost always leftovers. As much as a meaty hash may feel like a robust way to start your day, a vegetable hash is no less delicious, and doesn’t require a nap immediately following.
As with much of my recommended summer cooking, this is more about technique than a recipe. You can use leftover cooked or raw vegetables or chop fresh if you are in the mood. For me, the three non-negotiables for summer vegetable hash are: potatoes for bulk, corn for sweetness, and some sort of onion component, whether chopped onion or shallot in the cook or fresh scallions or chives sprinkled on top, or both if you like. The rest is entirely up to whatever the crisper drawer or Tupperware containers in the fridge might yield.
Grilled zucchini, yellow squash, or eggplant are all great in this, as are root vegetables of all kinds. If you have a stalk or two of celery starting to go floppy, chop and add for a bit of crunch. Mushrooms can make it meaty. Fresh green beans pop in the most satisfying manner, but cooked beans can also provide a bit of heft. Tomatoes juiciness prevent crisping, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious—just be forewarned. Even cooked leafy greens can be stirred in. Small chile peppers can be added for some heat. And if you are growing herbs, they finish this hash off perfectly. And if you don’t have leftover potatoes, but you do have leftover rice, quinoa, couscous, or another grain, have at it.
Vegetable hash is the perfect summer morning dish, with all the flavor and satisfaction of a traditional hash, but none of the torpor-inducing heaviness, and if any of the breakfast eaters in your life happen to be vegetarian or vegan, they will feel celebrated.
For every two people you would like to serve (generously)
1 cup cooked potatoes, diced, skin on or off as you choose
1 cup mixed vegetables, chopped
Corn kernels cut off the cob of one ear of corn
1/4 cup chopped onion, (cooked or raw)
2 tablespoons neutral oil like canola or safflower
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (optional)
1 small chile pepper, minced (optional)
Salt and pepper
If your vegetables are all pre-cooked, great. If they are all raw, great. If you have a mix of raw and cooked, you are going to want to sauté the raw ones first to drive off moisture so that the potatoes can get crispy.
Heat your oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion. If your onion is raw, cook till lightly browned and soft, if pre-cooked, just heat through to flavor the oil.
Once the onion is cooked, add any raw vegetables you have and cook until all moisture is cooked out. Usually you can tell because the liquid evaporates and you can start to hear the oil sizzle again. Once those vegetables are lightly browned and the liquid is gone, you can add any cooked vegetables, the corn, and the potatoes. (if all your vegetables are pre-cooked, you can obviously skip this step). Stir the potatoes into the vegetables and when you have a good mix, gently press the hash into an even layer and let cook without stirring or moving until the bottom is browned and crispy.
Once you have good crispiness, working in sections with a large spatula, flip the hash over as best you can to brown the other side. It is fine if the pieces break up a bit, you just want to get a good ratio of crispy to soft.
When the second side is well-browned, season generously with salt and pepper and quickly stir in any herbs or chile peppers. Cook for one more minute then move to a platter and garnish if you like with more herbs or sliced scallions, and serve with eggs cooked however you like them.