Sunday morning rises crisp, cold, and clear. It is 14 degrees below zero at my house, and I am not an early riser: It’s 9:15 before the sun starts to clear the Chugach mountains and lights up Anchorage below. The mercury starts to tick upwards, but not quickly enough. I should not complain about the weather much. It is all relative, but we live in the banana-belt of Alaska: A few hundred miles north of us temperatures have been holding steady in the -50 range for weeks. We are to meet friends at a trailhead in the mountains for a back country ski before settling in for the Super Bowl, but the French press, a thick Sunday paper, and the new DWR catalog all beckon. The excuses are all there, but we need to get outside for awhile, at least. We also need to feed, and time is short. It’s cold, we’re going to be exercising hard, and breakfast doesn’t really count unless it involves a pork product. Seriously. This afternoon there will be burgers, nachos, good beer, but now we need something quick and easy.
At Christmas we found neat little French place in Seattle that a friend recommended. Good food prepared simply, for the most part. The highlight of our pre-lunchtime visit was about as simple as it gets. Crack a couple of eggs into a shallow baking dish lined with good cured ham. Grate a little hard Gruyère over it, and toss it under a broiler for few minutes. The trick is to get the edges of the ham crispy without getting the eggs too hard. How long you leave it in the oven depends on your preference for runny eggs, but it doesn’t take long at all before over-easy turns to over-hard. There are several softer cheese sold as Gruyère, and I think they make the dish a little mushy. The real stuff crisps up better over the soft egg. Make sure you have some fresh crusty bread and butter for wiping out all of the corners of your bowl. That is it is just stupid simple doesn’t take away anything from how good it is, so it has made it into the near weekly lineup here at the Alaska Cooks Corporate Headquarters. Something this easy and good works for last minute dinners as well as pre-skiing fuel.