Sometimes synchronicity is a magical thing… and it’s because of such magic that I discovered fresh turmeric.
Within the span of a few days, fresh turmeric appeared three times in my life. First, dear friends brought some back for me from Costa Rica. Then, a few days later, I got to taste it in a restaurant… and the very next day, I walked into a market while travelling in Sonoma to find a huge basket of fresh turmeric roots proudly displayed on their shelves. It was no less than a turmeric conspiracy! I wondered why it took so long for me to become aware of these tasty roots. Needless to say, I brought home a huge bag.
Turmeric roots (or rhizomes) look similar to fresh ginger roots except for their lovely saffron hue. Fresh turmeric smells and tastes quite different from ground turmeric (the same way fresh ginger differs from powdered ginger). It’s quite tangy, vibrant and deliciously pungent – absolutely thrilling to the taste buds!
In this recipe, the fresh roots are finely grated to make a super-aromatic sauce that’s drizzled over root vegetable hash browns. The result is quite marvelous.
Now, I can already hear you say “Where on earth am I going to find fresh turmeric?!” First, don’t be alarmed; you can make the sauce with ground turmeric (see the ingredients list). Secondly, you can find fresh turmeric in Indian or Asian specialty grocery stores, at your local farmers’ market or online at Amazon.
Food & wine pairing: Sparkling rosé with root vegetable hash browns, fresh turmeric sauce and fried eggs
If you’re serving this dish for breakfast or for brunch, then I recommend pouring a sparkling rosé. If you serve it for a light dinner, then a medium-bodied red wine like a Pinot Noir or a Grenache works marvelously with the hefty-but-delicately flavored hash browns and the aromatic fresh turmeric sauce.
Root vegetable hash browns with fresh turmeric sauce and fried eggs
active time: 50 min (includes making the hash browns)
For the turmeric sauce
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot (or 2 shallots if using ground turmeric) – skinned and cut in 1/8″ pieces
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 2 garlic cloves – skinned and finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh yellow turmeric roots (peel the roots before grating them) or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 recipe root vegetable hash browns with scallions
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or extra virgin olive oil)
- 8 extra large eggs
- 1 handful baby arugula (or baby spinach)
- fleur de sel to taste
- Step 1: Heat a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallots and sauté until they soften, about 2 minutes. Add the cayenne, garlic and turmeric. Stir well and sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously, until the garlic and turmeric release their flavor – but make sure they do not brown. (If using ground turmeric, only sauté for 30 seconds.) Add the wine, stock and salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium/medium-low and simmer uncovered for 8 minutes until the mixture has slightly thickened. Remove pan from heat and purée with a stick blender (or a mini food processor) until the sauce is very smooth.
- Cook’s note: The sauce can be used right away or refrigerated for up to 3 days. Before serving, re-heat over medium heat until warm.
- Step 2: Prepare the hash browns as per this recipe.
- Step 3: While the hash browns are cooking, make the fried eggs. If you wish, you can crack each egg into a small bowl (to make sure they’re fresh) and set aside. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, tip the eggs into the pan or crack the eggs directly into the pan. Reduce heat to medium/medium-high and sauté the eggs until the whites are set on the edges but not quite set around the yolks, about 2 to 3 minutes. It is important for the eggs not to cook too quickly, so moderate heat is best. Place a lid over the pan and continue sautéing until the whites are set, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on how runny or firm you like your eggs. Immediately transfer to a plate or platter and cook the balance of the eggs. (Alternatively, use 2 pans.) To serve, spoon the hash browns into four large bowls. Drizzle with the turmeric sauce. Garnish with a few baby arugula leaves, top each bowl with two fried eggs and sprinkle the eggs with fleur de sel. Serve immediately.