Chicken Fat Potatoes, Fried Eggs and Tomato Olive Salsa

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Use what you got. That’s my best advice for cooking on weekend mornings. Make sure, on Friday, you’ve got eggs and coffee and some milk. After that, start your Saturday by raiding your fridge and putting together a breakfast that makes sense using as many disparate things that you can. Anyway, that’s my goal when I start my weekend and usually the breakfast that results is way better than one where I follow a recipe.

And so it was that last weekend, I peeked into my fridge and saw rendered chicken fat (from that time I made crispy chicken skin), red potatoes, olives, cherry tomatoes, scallions and eggs. An idea started to hatch.

I started with the potatoes. I scooped the chicken fat into my cast iron skillet and turned up the heat. I sliced the red potatoes in half and added them all cut side down, sprinkling everything with lots of salt and pepper and sliced garlic.

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The oven was at 425 when that pan went in; while the potatoes roasted, I had time to get everything else together. Did you know that in Italy they use the word “salsa” to mean sauce? So with the cherry tomatoes and olives I made an Italian-inspired salsa (a “condimento,” as Mario Batali might say) by pitting the olives, slicing the tomatoes in half and adding them along with chopped scallions, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to a bowl:

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Oh, and parsley too. And see that bowl on the upper left? That’s a bowl of toasted breadcrumbs leftover from this pasta. Those would figure in later also.

After about 25 minutes, the potatoes came out of the oven sizzling. I flipped a few over to check the color. Perfection!

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Then it was just a question of plating. I scooped potatoes on to two plates, fried up some eggs and put them on the other side and bridged the two things together with the salsa. Breadcrumbs and parsley got showered on top. And behold the Instagram version:

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There was so much going on here, flavor-wise, you’d think I planned it. But as I said, it had nothing to do with planning or recipe-following and everything to do with using what I had on hand. It’s my favorite way to cook.

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