This occurred to me while grocery shopping with my mom. When I reached for the platter of Italian sausage in the meat section she gasp and said, “No.” Actually it was more like, “No!” as if I were loading the cholesterol gun aimed at her heart. Matricide a negligent certainty in her mind. I said the recipe called for it. She said, “Just leave it out.” She is so bossy.
After pausing to think about this possibility, I realized that she was right: the egg and bread act as vehicles for whatever flavor you want them to carry. The sausage in the original recipe is where most of the flavor comes from. Replace it with anything flavorful and less fattening and fearful and it could still taste great.
To my mom’s satisfaction, I got some button mushrooms and green onions instead. I like those things in my omelet so I figured it might go well with my adaptation of the original recipe.
Verdict: Merry Christmas.
Impressed with my tutored palate and obvious penchant for improvisation (granted those are my words, not hers,) my sister and I came up with some other flavor combos that could work just as well for this recipe:
- Feta, spinach, and black olives
- Broccoli and grilled chicken
- Ham and Swiss
- Spam and stir fried kimchi
- Old El Paso Taco seasoned ground beef, cheddar, and jalapeno peppers
- Smoked salmon, capers, and chives
- Sun dried tomatoes, basil, and olives
- Kale, kielbasa, and roasted garlic
- Chili con carne and fritos
- Nutella, bananas, and walnuts
Now you go try it. Get creative. I just thought of another one: grilled chicken, bok choi, and cashew nuts with the custard seasoned with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Oh yeah! [Said in Pauli’s accent from Jersey Shore.]
‘Shroom ‘n’ Cheddah Breakfast Casserole
(Adapted from Saveur Days)
2 cups of slices button mushrooms
1 french baguette cut into 1 inch cylinders
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 spring onions chopped
3 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
Tabasco sauce to taste
Some butter to grease the baking dish
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 6″ × 6″ baking dish with butter and set aside.
Make yourself, or better yet have someone make for you, a pomosa: 1 part POM, 3 parts sparkling wine; teaspoon of fresh pomegranate seeds as garnish. Don’t forget to add fresh pomegranate seed. I like to watch them bob up and down the length of the champagne flute as the bubbles from the sparkling wine make them cheerfully buoyant.
Cut the baguette into 1-1/2″ discs and place them in a single layer in the prepared baking dish.
Dry saute the mushrooms. Cooking them without oil and salt keeps them from releasing their juices, which is what you don’t want. You want them dry. So just throw the sliced mushrooms onto a non-stick pan over medium heat to get them slightly brown and cooking.
Lightly whisk eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Add salt and mix well. Scatter semi-cooked mushrooms, green onions, and shredded cheddar over the bread. Pour custard evenly over casserole.
Bake until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Cover with foil and continue to bake until center about 15 minutes more. Uncover and set aside to let firm up for 20–30 minutes before serving with Tabasco sauce or Red Hot.
Bask in the complements.
I also included a sweet compliment to the savory casserole, namely my baked french toast. Maybe I’ll write about this too later. In the mean time, here’s a close up. Scratch and sniff. No, not really.
After that humungous meal, the brunchers slowly fell into a food coma. But not before one last flute of pomosa and mimosa…. [Insert deep breathing sounds with Julie Andrews belting it out in The Sound of Music in the background.]
For more photos, go to Flickr.
Photographs by Haijin Lee.