It Came Upon a Hash Brown Clear

Solar Sex Panel
Breakfast Casserole

This is so easy it seems like a waste of time to write it down. But I tell you — this thing is a Christmas miracle, an Easter miracle, a Saturday-after-next-when-the-relatives-are-coming-for-the-weekend miracle. It’s a June Wimbledon-watching miracle.

We have named this wonderful dish after a song by Little Village,  the supergroup made up of Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Jim Keltner and Nick Lowe. That band made one album and then all of its members went back to their distinguished solo careers. It is my dream that the next time Ry Cooder goes scrolling through websites looking for new recipes try out, he’ll stumble across this fantastic morning dish named for one of his songs and realize how loved was that band and the four virtuosos will get the band back together. Songs on the album include “Don’t Think About Her WhenYou’re Trying to Drive,” “Don’t Bug Me When I’m Working” and, of course, “Solar Sex Panel.” (I had a friend who once went to a Halloween party as a Solar Sex Panel, so it is obviously a concept with great salience for me. Order your copy of the album Little Village here.)

The casserole, pre-cooked

Anytime you have  assloads of guests at breakfast, make this if you want to serve something hearty and perhaps life-threatening.

Recipes, recipes  . . .  where do they come from. What is thy provenance, O recipe?

I can tell you this: I got it from my daughter who got it from her mama, who got it from a friend, who got it from some Amish people. That was the original name: Amish Breakfast Casserole.

But I like to freestyle, so here’s my version.

Gitchy one of those aluminum pans. You never ever want to wash a pan you don’t have to wash. Into this toss-away pan, dump in a whole package of formerly frozen hash browns. In short, let them thaw, dummy. Get a big-ass bag. Who doesn’t love hash browns except communists and . . .  well, maybe more communists. They can be shredded or cubed. (‘They’ being the hash browns, not the communists.) What the fuck — why not mix the varieties of hash browns and make a statement about the importance of diversity in breakfast food?

Add two big-ass packets of finely shredded Mexican blend cheese. I guess that comes to four cups of cheese, but the hell with measuring. We’re free-styling, remember?

Come closer and look into my potatoes

Toss in some chopped onions and green peppers. You can go to the trouble of chopping them, but the produce aisle has pre-chopped ones. If you insist on chopping your own, you could be costing someone their job and threatening the fragile tissue of the American economy.

Now, here’s where you can cut corners: go ahead and fry up some sausage and bacon. Go ahead, make a mess. (Say that in a Dirty Harry voice.) Or you can buy pre-cooked bacon and pre-cooked sausage — Johnsonville, if possible. Whatever you do, chop the bacon and / or sausage into small bits. You can also use mushrooms, but my son Charley says he will take the cat hostage if I ever put mushrooms into anything I serve him.

Then add eggs, beaten. Honestly, I lost track of how many eggs I put in. Might’ve been 18 or 20 for all I know. Just beat them to hell and pour into the pan with all of the other stuff.

Get that trusty wooden spoon and stir this until it’s a confetti-like mixture of stuff. Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or a half hour. It’s going to have to set for a bit. If it sets just right, you can cut it into cubes. It makes a lot. Should the Third Armored Division drop in, you’ll be all set.

Continue the freestyling. This is perfect for holiday mornings when families gather. Presumably you know these people, so go ahead and add Louisiana Red Dot for Uncle Clem, Pickapenny for Aunt Inez or Blazin’ Rectum sauce for Cousin Bushrod. You know your fellow diners; I don’t. Perhaps we should keep it that way.