Brunch: Eggs and Eggs in Crisp Potato Skins

Here’s one of the recipes I referenced in my epic brunch post: crisp potato skins with scrambled eggs! A friend on Facebook asked for the recipe, so I thought I might as well type it up for the blog.

This is from Cooking for the Weekend, an excellent cookbook by Michael McLaughlin. I’ve had it for years and it’s out of print, but lots of fun–the entire book is made up of “Saturday Lunches,” “Company on Saturday Night,” and “Sunday Breakfasts and Brunches,” categorized by Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. Incidentally, I did a little research online to see if McLaughlin had a website so I could attribute this to him, and discovered he died in 2002 at the age of 53. He helped put together the classic Silver Palate Cookbook, another favorite of mine: RIP to a talented writer and gifted cook.

This dish is one of my most popular brunch recipes! I let people build their own potato skins and set out the scrambled eggs, cheese, chives, crumbled bacon, and whatever other toppings come to mind. Unfortunately, I’ve never been rich enough to offer the caviar included in the original recipe (the second “eggs” of the title), but maybe I’ll do that just for myself.

Potatoes

Eggs and Eggs in Crisp Potato Skins
Serves 8 (I multiply the recipe according to my guest list; allowing 1 1/2 skins per guest is usually spot on)

You need:

8 russet baking potatoes (about 6 ounces each), well scrubbed
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Rich Scrambled Eggs (recipe follows)
6 ounces creme fraiche, homemade or purchased, or sour cream, well chilled
1 ounce black caviar, such as osetra
1/2 ounce salmon roe caviar
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

The night before: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Pierce each potato several times with a fork. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until tender, about 50 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.

Halve the potatoes lengthwise and scoop out the insides of the potatoes (keep them for mashed potatoes, or make some gnocchi), leaving a shell about 1/4 inch thick. If making ahead of time, wrap well and refrigerate.

The morning of your brunch: Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly brush the potato shells inside and out with melted butter. Arrange them cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake 12 minutes. Turn the shells upright and bake until the edges are crisp and golden brown, about 12 minutes more.

For brunch, I stack the potato skins in two sections of my three-compartment warming tray, with the eggs in the third section and my toppings in small dishes nearby. Guests can build their own–and eat them with their hands!

Rich Scrambled Eggs
Serves 8

You need:

16 eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. Melt the butter in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over low heat. Stir in the eggs and cook, stirring often, until softly set, about 7 minutes. NOTE: Even when I’m doing multiple batches for a brunch, I only cook one batch at a time–a huge, deep pan of eggs tends to cook unevenly and brown on the bottom, which I can’t stand!

I’ll end with a quote from McLaughlin at the end of the recipe: “Leftover caviar is an oxymoron: Not only is it expensive, it’s perishable. Eat up.” I couldn’t agree more!

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