Sweet Potato Rosti with Fried Eggs

Sunday’s a good day for a leisurely cooked breakfast and about 3 weeks ago I decided to make this sweet potato rosti which I had seen in the free brochure published monthly by Coles supermarket and available at the check out.

Sweet potato, bacon, onion and thyme – preferably fresh – is a winning flavour combination, but I had to make this four times before I got it right. The first time I made one large rosti, as per the recipe, but the outsides started to burn before the middle was properly cooked. Second time I made individual rostis, like fritters, but they had a tendency to fall apart. Third time I added an egg and a bit of flour to the mixture and again made small fritters, but the flavour wasn’t the same.

The original recipe said to microwave the whole sweet potato for five minutes before grating it, but this overcooked the outside while leaving the inside raw. So on my fourth and final attempt, instead of microwaving the sweet potato I stir fried the mixture and then made it into one large rosti. This worked well and here’s my version of the recipe!

To make a more substantial meal serve rosti on a slice of buttered toast, with a green salad on the side.

Sweet Potato Rosti with Fried Eggs

1 large sweet potato (about 800g)
100g bacon, diced
1 brown onion, finely diced
3 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme (or use dried)
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
Olive oil

Peel and grate the sweet potato into a bowl. A food processor with a coarse grating disc makes this a breeze. Alternatively use the coarsest side of a hand grater. Mix in bacon, onion, thyme, salt and pepper.

Heat a little olive oil in a medium sized non-stick frying pan. Add sweet potato mixture and stir fry for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture has softened. Heat a little oil in a smaller omelette pan about 20 cm in diameter. Pack sweet potato mixture into the pan and smooth the surface, pressing down with a spatula. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until golden underneath. Loosen around the edges, then place a plate on top and invert the pan so the rosti ends up on the plate. Slide back into pan, adding a bit more oil if necessary. Cook for 5-10 minutes on the other side.

Meanwhile in another pan, fry the eggs sunny side up, or however you like them.

Cut rosti into 4 and arrange on individual serving plates. Top each serving with a fried egg.

Serves 4

Spanish Omelette

When I was sixteen I sailed from Southampton to Bilbao to spend the Easter school holidays with a Spanish family. I had been studying Spanish several times a week for six months, but most of it was stuck somewhere at the back of my head.

The Zubia family of five lived in an apartment in Bilbao. Nobody spoke a word of English, so I had to speak Spanish to survive. Needless to say, when I returned to the UK three weeks later I had made enormous progress and have never looked back. A month of language immersion in your teens is worth a year when you’re of a more mature age.

I was intrigued by a household which bought olive oil in 4 litre cans and used it to cook absolutely everything. My mother kept a very small bottle in the medicine cabinet and used it to treat earache.

Señora Zubia taught me to make several dishes, including Spanish omelette, which I still make according to her recipe below.

Bars in Spain serve a wide selection of tapas, mostly at room temperature and displayed along the top of the bar. When something takes your fancy you just point and the barman brings you as many servings as required for your group. On leaving patrons tell the barman what they’ve had and he adds up the bill. It’s all done on honesty.

Spanish omelette is usually served at room temperature, but have it hot if you prefer.

Spanish Omelette
1 large onion
4 large potatoes or 6 medium
6 eggs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
To serve:
Roasted red capsicums (peppers) and aioli (optional)

Peel and chop onion as finely as possible. Heat a good slug of olive oil in a medium-sized non-stick frying pan, add onion and cook gently until soft. Meanwhile peel potatoes and cut into 2cm dice. Remove onions from the pan, add more oil if necessary (there should be a generous amount), add potatoes and cook gently, turning often, until they are cooked through but not browned. Remove potatoes from the pan and put with the onions in a sieve, so excess oil drains off.

Tip off all but 2-3 Tbs of oil. If there’s not enough oil left in the pan add some that has drained from the potatoes and onion.  Place eggs in a bowl and beat with a fork. Season with salt and pepper, then mix in the potatoes and onions. Tip mixture into frying pan and spread out evenly. Cook for 8-10 minutes over moderate heat, or until set and underneath is golden. Check by lifting slightly with a spatula. Run spatula around the edge to make sure the omelette hasn’t stuck to the pan.

Place a large dinner plate over the frying pan and quickly invert so you end up with the omelette on the plate, cooked side up. Carefully slide back into the frying pan and cook the other side, which will take about 5 minutes. Serve at room temperature with roasted red peppers and aioli – for which there are plenty of recipes online, or just add some crushed garlic to mayonnaise, for a quick version. Cut into 3-4 cm squares Spanish Omelette makes great finger food, or tapas, to use the Spanish word.

Serves 4-6



Smoked Salmon and Scrambled Egg Tartlets

I’m always looking for new ideas for weekend lunches. Something light and tasty to go with a glass of wine. This delicious combination of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and crisp pastry comes from Gordon Ramsey.

Once cooked the pastry shells will keep for several days in a sealed container in the fridge and just need to be reheated in a hot oven for 2-3 minutes. For the garnish I prefer salmon roe which is a dark pink colour, but had to make do with the fake black “caviar” shown in the photo, because it’s easier to find at the weekend in a suburban supermarket. The rocket leaves look huge, I know, but that’s how they grow in our garden.

Smoked Salmon and Scrambled Egg TartletsPuff pastry, bought or home-made
3-4 eggs
2-3 Tbs milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
25g butter
4 slices smoked salmon
Salmon roe or Lumpfish roe (fake caviar)
Rocket salad, lightly dressed

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Line two individual quiche tins with pastry, rolled out thinly. Line with foil then add dry beans or corn to hold the foil flat. Bake blind for 10 mins then remove foil, prick pastry with a fork to make sure it stays flat and put back in the oven for another 5 mins or until golden and crisp. These can be made ahead and kept in a container with a lid for up to a week.

If tarts have been made ahead and are cold, reheat them in a hot oven for 2-3 minutes. Beat eggs with milk and add salt and pepper to taste. Melt butter in a non-stick pan and scramble the eggs. Place two slices smoked salmon in each tart shell, with the darker edges towards the middle. Top with the eggs, garnish with the salmon roe or lumpfish caviar and serve with a rocket salad.

Serves 2