Smoked Salmon Hash with a Poached Egg and Chive Hollandaise Sauce

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Smoked salmon is the theme this week! I'm celebrating my second byline for The Washington Post, in which I wrote about ways to utilize cold- and hot-smoked salmon for Easter menus. The piece includes my recipes for smoked salmon deviled eggs, smoked salmon scrambled eggs, and a smoked salmon frittata, so check that out if you're looking for more ways to cook with one of my favorite ingredients.  I was beyond excited to see my article run in print yesterday, on the first page of the Food section no less! The Kitchenista Diaries turned seven this week and I couldn't be happier with the direction my career has taken this year. This tiny little corner of the internet became so much more than a food blog, and it's moments like this that I have to take a step back and sit in gratitude for all that I've accomplished along my journey.

As I learn to cook, simple recipes often become building blocks for more complex dishes later down the line. Such is the case with this smoked salmon hash, a concept I've been testing for a client's restaurant brunch menu. With that in mind, this isn't something I intended to be a quick or easy recipe, but I do think it's manageable for an ambitious home cook. There are three main components to tackle here. First, you'll make the potato hash, a technique I've covered most recently in my post for duck fat home fries. Hot-smoked salmon gets folded in at the very end. The second step is an herbed hollandaise sauce. Skip the classical techniques and grab your immersion blender for a process that is more fool-proof at home. It's very similar to making homemade mayo, except you'll stream in melted butter instead of oil. Finally, you'll poach the eggs, something that really isn't all that complicated but you might go through a few extra eggs getting it right on your first attempt. 

The end result was a dish that's guaranteed to impress: a fluffy poached egg drenched in luxurious hollandaise sauce, perched atop savory, crispy potatoes, onions, celery and flaked smoked salmon. There's a lot to love here. Smoked salmon makes every dish feel like a treat, and because it's already cooked when you purchase it, there's one less ingredient to worry about prepping. Breaking into that warm runny yolk is brunch nirvana! It looks curiously simple, but the key is using great ingredients (splurge on those farm fresh eggs) and nailing each of those three components perfectly. I'll show you how to do that, below.

Smoked Salmon Hash with a Poached Egg and Chive Hollandaise Sauce

Ingredients for the Hash:
3/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, diced into 1/2" cubes
1/2 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp neutral cooking oil (such as canola, safflower or grapeseed)
2 tbsp rendered duck fat or butter**
1 red onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
4 oz hot-smoked salmon, flaked with a fork (discard skin)*

Ingredients for the Hollandaise Sauce:
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus zest
1 tbsp chopped chives
1/4 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste
Pinch of cracked black pepper 
Pinch of cayenne
8 tbsp unsalted European-style butter**

Other Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 tbsp chopped chives, for garnish

Recipe Notes:
*You can substitute 4 oz of cooked fresh salmon instead of smoked salmon. 
**To make this recipe Whole30 friendly, check labels on the smoked salmon for a sugar-free smoked salmon, or use the cooked salmon suggestion above. Substitute ghee or clarified butter for both the hash and the hollandaise sauce.

Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 2
Special Equipment: Microwave steamer basket, Large cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan, immersion blender or upright blender, saucepan or small pot, safety pin.

Hot-smoked salmon has the appearance of a seared salmon filet, but a firmer texture. 

To prepare the smoked salmon hash:
As I mentioned above, this part of the recipe is almost identical to the duck fat potato hash in a previous post, so I've abbreviated instructions here. In a microwave steamer basket, toss the cubed potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt and the vinegar. Cover and steam for 5 minutes, just until potatoes are knife tender. (If you don't have a microwave steamer basket, use a microwaveable container with the lid cracked open slightly.) Uncover the lid to allow steam to escape and drain off any excess liquid. 

Over medium to medium-high heat, warm the oil and duck fat until shimmering. (I really love the flavor duck fat adds to this dish, but butter will also work if you don't have any on hand.) Spread the potatoes out in a single layer so that they all have contact with the skillet. Allow them to crisp on one side, undisturbed, which will take a few minutes. Toss and rearrange the potatoes again in a single layer to continue crisping the other sides. Repeat this process until you start to see more of a uniform golden brown color all over the potatoes, about 15 minutes total. If you're using butter, they'll brown a little faster, so be mindful of the stovetop temperature.

Add the diced onion, celery and all the spices to the skillet. Season with a small pinch of salt. Stir to toss the potatoes until they're evenly seasoned. Keep cooking the potatoes for another five minutes or so, until the veggies have softened. Turn the heat off and set the pan aside to finish once your egg and hollandaise are prepared.

Just before you're ready to serve, you can reheat the potatoes to crisp them up for a few minutes in the skillet again. Then fold in the flaked salmon. Smoked salmon has plenty of salt already, so avoid over-seasoning without tasting your hash first.

To prepare the hollandaise sauce:

In a tall container that fits your immersion blender, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, zest, chives, salt, pepper, and cayenne. In a separate dish, melt the butter in the microwave and set aside. Turn on the immersion blender to puree the yolks with the lemon juice and chives. Slowly stream in the warm melted butter. Once all of the butter has been added, blend another 15 seconds or so to ensure that the chives are evenly blended - they should tint the sauce light green. The sauce will be thick but smooth and pourable, like a very runny mayo. Season to taste with salt, if needed.

The hollandaise should stay warm enough to serve, but in the case that it cools down, you can pop it in the microwave for ten-second increments, stirring in between, to rewarm. This makes about a cup, which is slightly more than you really need for two servings - but I've had much better luck preparing the hollandaise at this volume versus with one yolk.

(Note: If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use an upright blender, streaming the butter in from the top in a similar fashion, while the motor is running on medium speed.)

To poach an egg:

I turn to Julia Child's technique for poached eggs, which has been the most reliable in my experience. Bring a small pot of water up to a gentle boil. Use a safety pin to poke a hole in the bottom of each egg. This releases any air so that the eggs don't crack in the next step. Drop the eggs in the boiling water and submerge for exactly ten seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon. 

Reduce the heat of the water until it's just simmering. One at a time, crack the eggs into the hot water. Give the first egg a few seconds to set up before adding the second egg. What I like about this technique is that the whites hold together much better due to the initial boil in the shell. It makes for a prettier poached egg, and it's easier to see what's going on in the water without all those whispy whites floating around all over the place.

Cook the eggs for two minutes for a soft, runny yolk, or a minute longer for a firmer yolk. Using the slotted spoon, you can lift the egg up to gently press around the yolk with your index finger to get a feel for doneness. Once the poached eggs are cooked to your liking, lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel if desired, before transferring to each bowl.

How to serve:

I used these cute mini cast-iron skillets for serving, but any bowl or a deep rimmed plate would work just fine. Divide the hash between two bowls. Top each with a poached egg, and spoon a generous amount of hollandaise over the top. Garnish with finely chopped fresh chives. Serve immediately - this is a dish that you don't want to let sit. Not that I think you'll have an issue rushing to the table to gobble this one up. Enjoy!

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