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Have hearty veggie hash, with or without eggs

I’m all for vegetables at breakfast and even recently conceded to a restaurant’s revision of my favorite breakfast dish — eggs Benedict — to accommodate them.

Unfortunately, the popular Grants Pass eatery that regularly riffs on eggs Benedict had unevenly roasted its vegetables. The brassicas were slightly overdone while the delicata squash was nowhere near tender enough to chew through. No amount of runny yolk from the perfectly poached eggs could redeem the dish.

Suffice it to say that some time will pass before I’m inclined toward an alternative eggs Benedict presentation, excepting maybe a slice of tomato or greens in the Florentine style. A better way to do roasted vegetables and eggs is this recipe from the Los Angeles Times.

While billed for breakfast, the hash, minus the eggs would be a delicious cold-weather side dish, maybe with roast chicken or fish. To make it vegetarian, simply omit the bacon and toss the vegetables with 1/2 cup olive oil or melted butter. Then cook the vegetables for 1 hour at 425 For until they’re as crispy at the edges as you like.

I’d vote for a slightly less crispy hash, so the leftovers could be reheated in individual gratin dishes with an egg cooked in the center, or “en cocotte,” as the French technique is known. Do this with any leftover roasted veggies, braised greens or even cooked beans or lentils, serve with crusty bread or flatbread, and you’ve really got a restaurant-worthy dish.

Bacon-Basted Root Vegetable Hash

3 pounds rutabaga (about 3 medium), trimmed, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges (2 1/4 pounds)

1 1/2 pounds celery root (about 2 medium), trimmed, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges (10 ounces)

1 pound mixed mushrooms, halved or torn into bite-size pieces

4 sprigs rosemary or 8 sprigs thyme or a mix of both

1/2 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise

1/2 cup sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more

12 ounces thick-cut bacon (14 to 16 slices)

4 cups mixed hearty salad greens

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 to 8 fried eggs, for serving

Heat oven to 350 F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, combine the rutabaga, celery root and mushrooms; toss to mix. Spread vegetables into an even layer then place the herb sprigs evenly over top. Cover pan with foil, crimping edges shut and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour.

While vegetables bake, make pickled onions: In a medium bowl, combine the onions, vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt; refrigerate, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until softened, for at least 1 hour. Onions can be made up to 5 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.

Uncover pan and discard foil; increase oven heat to 425 F. Arrange the bacon slices evenly over vegetables in a single layer then cook until bacon is cooked through, for about 30 minutes (it will not be crisp). Using tongs, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain and keep warm; increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Use a flat metal spatula to gently flip and redistribute veggies and herb sprigs, ensuring they’re coated in bacon fat. Return pan to oven and cook vegetables, flipping once halfway through, until brown and crusty, for 35 to 40 minutes longer. (Add bacon back on top of vegetables for last 10 minutes of cooking if you want more well-done bacon.)

Remove pan from oven, remove herb sprigs and stir the greens into veggies while they’re hot so they wilt slightly. Season hash with salt and pepper and serve it while hot, topped with an egg and some pickled onions.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tribune News Service photo