Twice The Hen It Used To Be

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By Deirdre Bourdet

Brunch menus around the Napa Valley are gearing up for spring with a new twist on a breakfast favorite.  Potato hashes are as familiar and time-honored as buttermilk pancakes, but a new species of this staple brunch dish has invaded Napa this year: the chicken hash.

Much like caviar and smoked fish canapes, chicken hash brings together two of the most prized parts of the same animal: eggs and meat.  Unlike its fishy cousin, though, chicken hash also suits these frugal times and makes delicious use of an inexpensive and ubiquitous animal.  Who hasn't got eggs and a piece or two of leftover chicken in their fridge on any given week?  Shredding up those leftovers and mixing them with sautéed potatoes, garlic, and other pantry seasonings of your choice stretches them back into a full plate, and topping them with fried or poached eggs transforms the humble hodgpodge into a thrillingly rich and fabulous indulgence.  Toss in some leftover vegetables, sliced fresh asparagus, mushrooms, arugula, or whatever you've got to bulk up the nutritional value and the portion size, and you're very good to go.  Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, chicken hash rocks.
Check out the professional versions around the valley for some inspiration.  Unfortunately they're offered only in the morning for now, but please join my crusade and suggest extending these soul-satisfying egg dishes well into the evening.  How great would these taste after a long day of wine tasting?

 "Clucky Plucky Chicken Hash" is available from 10:30 to 2:30pm Saturdays and Sundays at Bardessono in Yountville.  Succulent confit leg meat nestles into melted onions and seasonal chanterelle mushrooms, with eggs fresh from the farm.  Don't miss the crisp and juicy breakfast radishes with anchoïade from the bar menu, either--that anchovy and olive oil-based dip will transport your hash (or toast, or omelet, or...) to crazy levels of deliciousness.

If you need an earlier or a midweek fix, The Grill at Silverado starts slinging its chicken hash in the Silverado Resort at 6:30 a.m., every day of the week. Theirs tops the chicken and spuds with dilled hollandaise and poached eggs. 

NB: the bar at the resort also opens at 8:30 a.m. for those in need.

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