I love where I live in Harlem, but the neighborhood has been a bit slow in opening up restaurants I’d like to frequent. Sometimes, after I bike around Central Park, I wish that I can just chain my bike somewhere and eat a satisfying brunch without the food being soggy eggs and weak coffee. Instead, I bike all the way home and make myself a quick bite to eat and think, “Well, that wasn’t so difficult.”
My mother always told me, “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” I’ve created an eating club before called Supper with Strangers, so the idea of inviting people to my home for a civilized and good brunch came easily. Serving brunch to a group of people is easier in theory because there are less courses to prep for and I don’t have to expect my guests to linger like they would if it’s at night. The challenge was presenting more than just eggs to eat, and thus, Not Just Eggs was born. I put up the announcement on my Facebook and Twitter pages and received very enthusiastic responses that I sold out a total of 24 seats for a total of three Sundays in May.
I was actually nervous for the first Not Just Eggs seating. I spent the week before testing a couple of recipes that would taste good with a poached egg on top. I wanted to create a dish that celebrated the spirit of brunch: a substantial meal with a breakfast feel. I had two vegetarian guests and I didn’t want to buy two sets of groceries, so I had to cook a dish that would work for everyone with just the additional meat for the pork lovers as the slight difference.
Since the carrots need to be grated for this recipe, I know you’d be tempted to grate the potatoes as well. Spend extra time to chop them like matchsticks so that they do not get soggy. And it’s okay to use one of those silicone poachers so your eggs come out perfectly. They’re especially handy if you’re poaching eight all at once. The ingredients below made enough for all eight guests with each person getting two fritters. Add pan-fried sausage for the other guests.
3 carrots, grated
2 potatoes, chopped like matchsticks
scallions, finely sliced
a handful of parsley, finely chopped
3 tbsps flour
1. Mix the carrot, potato, scallion and parsley in a bowl. Add the flour and season well. Stir the eggs into the vegetable mixture to combine.
2. Heat some oil in a sauté pan. Add a large spoonful of the mixture to the oil, lightly flatten with a heat-resistant spatula, and fry each side until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a cooling rack.
3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and soft-poach the eggs. Add a tbsp of vinegar. Crack the egg in a small bowl or a ramekin. Gently pour in the egg–don’t be afraid to get that ramekin wet too–and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the yolk is half-set. Scoop the poached egg out with a slotted spoon and place on top of two fritters to serve.