You know you've eaten at a great restaurant when the dishes inspire memories. The best restaurants turn out the sort of meals that one considers on the drive home, imagining how to recreate them, or plotting when to make a return visit. But just how easy is it to recreate a dish? Some meals are crazy complex, while other dishes seem so devastatingly simple that it's certainly worth a try.
Café Brasil serves up fabulous food in creative combinations for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Last Sunday morning, I branched out from my usual migas and tried the Red Velvet Hash, a layer of crisp-roasted beets and potatoes topped with a fried egg. The beets had a light sweetness to them that was nicely complemented by the runny yolks. The entire thing was a mish-mosh of delicious divinity, garnished with awesome. The dish overwhelmed me with its luscious simplicity... Was this something I could make at home?
Groceries purchased, I set out to make my own red velvet hash this week. I diced two beets, an onion, and a Russet potato, and tossed 'em into a Le Creuset Dutch oven with olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. I roasted the package at 450 degrees for 50 minutes. With just a few minutes left on the timer, I cracked an egg into a hot frying pan. With the final bell, I spooned my hash onto a plate, then carefully slid my fried egg on top. It was certainly as beautiful as I'd hoped.
With one bite I knew something was awry. The potatoes smooshed with the slightest provocation, while the beets remaining jarringly dense. Perhaps I should have roasted them separately [chin scratch]. The savory/sweet combination of beets and potatoes still stirred the senses -- and a fried egg can cover many sins -- yet the textures were decidedly off, leaving the dish a mushy mess of not-quite-rightness.
Oh, woe is me. I still dream of that Red Velvet Hash, but next time I'll let the Brasil masters make it for me. Got any kitchen recreation stories or suggestions for us?