Peasant breakfast: another reincarnation

It was a harried holiday season, you guys. Lovely and festive and there was music and dancing and silliness and cookies and layers and layers of blankets. But good gawd, it was exhausting. I’m just now coming out of the aftershocks and realizing, like I do every year, that I might prefer the smaller treasures of the ordinary to the joyous, exuberant excesses of the extraordinary. (Might.)

In recent months, with a work schedule that changes every week and often precludes me from joining cronies for weekend brunches, I’ve gotten really good at luring friends to my apartment of a Wednesday morning for what often turns out to be some form of Peasant Breakfast.

I was also gifted this past hurliday season with two pounds of coffee from a lil’ joint in Michigan called Biggby Coffee. And – nicest gift ever from folks I’ve still sort of technically never met (to be remedied in early February)- a coffee grinder. So I casually add to my prospective guests that there will be freshly ground, French-pressed coffee.

And LO! A social life/cottage breakfast industry is born.

So a couple of weeks ago, after waking up one day and realizing that my time, once again, belonged solely to me and my doings, I reached out to a handful of friends. “I miss your radiant face.” “You. Me. Burritos.” “It’s been at least a thousand years. Let’s drink, honey.” “I have a dozen eggs and a cast-iron skillet with our names on them.”

I announced something like this last bit to my girl Cara, who responded favorably. We made plans for breakfast and coffee and music and food-talk for an approaching weekday morning. The day came, and she asked what I needed her to bring. I informed her I was still in possession of the eggs and skillet, as well as the abovementioned coffee, “umm, a fresh multigrain loaf, some buttery French triple creme, some kale, and some spicy Italian chicken sausage. No casing.” She informed me she would fly to me in the company of a shallot.

Cara arrived, I pressed the coffee, and we sipped and talked. After about 30 minutes, we wandered into the kitchen to get breakfast started. I was, however, hesitant to suggest outright the (admittedly obvious) potential for Peasant Breakfast.

Because I make it All. The. Time.

I mean, it’s not that I have no other ideas. (In fact, I’ve got lots, and the collection of thoughts for new breakfast delicacies and cravings is expanding rapidly these days. Post on “rethinking breakfast” forthcoming, and soon.) It’s just that Peasant Breakfast is so flippin’ delicious. And easy. And versatile. [Starch + creamy thing + green(s) (+ optional meat) + soft-fried egg with cooked white and runny yolk] ^ stacked = peasant breakfast. Baguette-goat cheese-spinach-egg. Polenta-ricotta-escarole-sausage-egg. Latke-farmer cheese-kale-egg. Sourdough-brie-arugula-pulled pork-egg.


So you’ll imagine my relief when, looking at the collection of breakfasty treasures on my counter, Cara said, “Ummm, could we just make, you know, like, a good old Peasant Breakfast with this stuff?”


So we did. Toasted a couple thick slices of the billion-grain loaf. Shmeared some St. Andre on top once the toasts cooled (after coming to the happy mutual conclusion that we disliked when warm bread melted thick, creamy, gooey cheese. “I want texture,” we chorused). Threw the chicken sausage in a pan with thinly sliced shallots and olive oil. Tore up the kale and cooked it down in the pan with the sausage & shallots. Fried up a couple of eggs.

Stacked it.

Replicable? Totally. Like, weekly? Sure. Formulaic? You bet.

BUT: Comforting? Oh yes. Easy? Yep. Kickass? YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

Here’s to working with what you’ve got, calling a spade a spade, and honoring favorites in 2010.


  1. Hey gra,
    While not a comment about peasant breakfasts at all, just wanted to let you know that your carbonara is officially my go-to. And I will be going there tonight. But I will be using the much-ridiculed peas. Why? That shit is in my fridge. I am sure you understand.
    Miss you to bits (of pancetta seared to the pan).

  2. how did i miss this post before? and it's true that it's been a thousand days since i saw you last. boo, hiss. (but cheers to your delightful writing, as always.)

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