I’ve been cooking breakfast at the local homeless shelter for a few months now and I’m becoming an expert of the S.O.S breakfast. The shelter almost always has plenty of bread and lots of random things that I can cook in a light gravy and serve over toast.
It’s pretty much always a hit because it’s really filling, warming, and just a great way to start the day.
It doesn’t always have to be meat-based though. A few days ago I made a bit of a classier version of the dish for myself with a variety of mushrooms and spices and topped with fried eggs. It was probably my favorite breakfast dish I’ve made since my chicken and waffles brunch.
1) Gently rinse mushrooms or brush off dirt. Slice them thick.
2) Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook without turning for a few minutes to get a nice sear on the mushrooms. Then stir and continue to cook for another few minutes until they are just turning soft.
3) Add garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes to mushrooms and continue to cook until spices are fragrant, another minute probably.
4) Turn heat down to low and add cream. Also season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir together for another minute until cream thickens into a nice light sauce.
5) Toast bread and rub with a clove of garlic.
6) Remove mushrooms from pan and crack in eggs. Fry eggs (over-easy is recommended).
7) Spoon mushrooms over toast and serve with an egg on top. Garnish with red pepper flakes and thyme.
There’s an eternal debate about whether or not you should wash mushrooms. I’ve heard the argument that it rinses off flavor or that the mushrooms absorb water. I don’t really buy either of those lines though. So I do lightly wash my mushrooms just to get off any visible dirt.
It’s hard to get mushrooms perfectly clean, but it makes me feel better to rinse them off for some reason. Call me crazy.
For this dish it’s very important to not slice your mushrooms to thin. You want big meaty pieces of mushrooms on the toast.
So cut each mushroom into 3 or 4 slices and call it good.
Besides the mushrooms, you really just need a few ingredients to make this dish excellent. You need a bit of cream to thicken up the sauce for the mushrooms. The fresh thyme pairs perfectly with mushrooms and the red pepper flakes, while optional, I think sort of make the dish by giving it a bit of heat.
I don’t think I need to explain why you should put garlic in this. You should put garlic in pretty much everything.
Cooking the Shrooms
When it comes time to cook the mushrooms, you want to cook them hot and quick to get a nice sear on them. So add a good glug of olive oil to a large skillet (I like a nonstick skillet for this). Once the oil is hot, add your mushrooms in a single layer on the pan. Let them cook for a few minutes before turning them so they get a really nice brown color to them.
Once your mushrooms have softened a bit and browned around the edges (about 6-8 minutes probably), add the minced garlic, fresh thyme, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Continue to cook it for another minute until the spices and garlic are really fragrant.
If at any point, the pan is really dry, add a bit more olive oil.
Once the spices are hot and fragrant, turn the heat down to low on the pan and add your cream!
Stir this all together for another minute or two and your mushrooms are done. The cream should mix with the olive oil and make a really light sauce that’ll coat all the mushrooms.
It’s delicious stuff really.
This would be a good time to hit it with some salt and pepper also.
Obviously the mushrooms are important to this dish, but the toast is equally important. Having some flavorless piece of wimpy bread under these mushrooms is not an option. Get a nice sourdough or wheat bread and toast it well.
Then rub each piece of bread with a fresh garlic clove to give it plenty of flavor. You could butter the bread if you want, but it’s not really necessary.
Then just pile your mushrooms high and deep on the toast!
This dish was made for an over-easy egg on top. There’s just no two ways about it. You can use the same nonstick pan that you cooked your mushrooms in to cook a few eggs quickly. There should be plenty of oil still in the pan. Just crank up the heat to high and crack in a few eggs. Cook them for a few minutes until the whites are almost cooked through, then flip them carefully and cook them for another 10 seconds.
Throw them on top of the mushrooms (1 egg per piece of toast) and garnish the whole thing with some more thyme and red pepper flake.
This dish is a perfect example of how good simple things can be. There’s nothing really fancy about this dish. It’s just all about execution. Make sure to not overcook your eggs. Try to get a good sear on your mushrooms and turn down the heat when you add the cream so it doesn’t scald.
Simple things. But if you nail them, you’ll be a very happy eater.
Administrative Note: I’m taking Labor Day off from posting. You shouldn’t be reading the Internet anyway on Monday! Get outside and grill something! Check back on Tuesday though for a new Homemade Trial.