Nothing caps off an evening celebrating like a midnight snack - or a 2 a.m. snack, as the case might be. And if you're an early-to-bed type, these egg-based dishes would taste just as good for brunch on New Year's Day. All five recipes are easy and relatively quick to make, especially if you do a little prep work before heading out for your night on the town. One recipe even has an added advantage - the dish called San Francisco Little Joe's is a variation of a classic called Joe's Special, a scramble of eggs, beef and spinach that San Franciscans swear can help prevent a hangover.
These recipes also are open to improvisation. Hate spinach but love mushrooms? Make the switch. Don't have bacon, pancetta or prosciutto on hand for the pasta frittata? Toss in diced kosher salami or crumble in sweet Italian sausage. And if you don't have pasta for the frittata, use cooked sliced potatoes instead to make a variation on a Spanish tortilla. If you don't have either, simply fry up the meat, scramble in the eggs and serve with hot buttered toast.
The breakfast pizza recipe calls for frozen bread dough, but we swapped out a bag of refrigerated dough, sold at Trader Joe's and sometimes at other stores. You also could use a tube of refrigerated pizza dough or a preformed pizza crust, such as Boboli.
The smoked salmon hash recipe starts with whole potatoes, but refrigerated cubed potatoes would make an easy stand-in. Frozen potatoes would work, too.
The final recipe, a breakfast club sandwich, is a glorified BLT minus the "L." You can add it in - a slightly bitter green such as arugula would be a nice contrast to the fatty bacon, mayo and avocado. To minimize the sandwich, try leaving out the tomato if good ones cannot be found or subbing regular mayonnaise and a splash of hot sauce for the three-ingredient spicy mayo.
So pull out a pan, put on the coffee (decaf might be wise), and enjoy a delicious ending to your New Year's night.
Smoked Salmon Hash
Yield: 4 servings
• 2 pounds potatoes (about 7 medium)
• 1 pound hot-smoked or kippered salmon (see note)
• 1 small red onion, minced
• 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
• 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
• 1/4 cup capers, drained
• 1/4 cup sour cream, plus more for garnish
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 4 to 8 large poached eggs, optional (see note)
1. Place potatoes in a large pan; cover with water. Bring to a boil, add a big pinch of salt, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely. (If making ahead, refrigerate until ready to proceed.) Peel and dice potatoes.
2. Shred salmon into a medium bowl. Add onion, horseradish, mustard, capers and 1/4 cup sour cream. Toss to combine; add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Melt butter in a large, heavy sauté pan; add oil. Add potatoes and sauté until golden brown and crisp. Add salmon mixture; toss to combine and heat through. Add more salt and pepper, if desired.
4. Divide hash among four plates. If desired, top each serving with 1 or 2 poached eggs. Thin some sour cream with a little milk; dollop over the hash. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 450 calories; 20 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 48 mg cholesterol; 26 g protein; 41 g carbohydrate; 4 g sugar; 4 g fiber; 1,285 mg sodium; 65 mg calcium.
• Do not use cold-smoked salmon, which is too moist for this recipe.
• To poach eggs, fill a large skillet with water. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar (any kind) and salt to taste. Bring to a soft rolling boil. One at a time, break eggs into saucers and carefully tilt into the water. Cook until the whites are set and the centers are just soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon.
Adapted from "The 150 Best American Recipes" by Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)
Yield: 10 slices
• All-purpose flour
• 1 (16-ounce) loaf frozen whole-wheat bread dough, thawed (see note)
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 cup sliced zucchini, halved, and/or green or red bell pepper pieces
• 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
• 8 eggs
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
• 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar and/or mozzarella cheese (6 ounces total), divided
• 2 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained and crumbled
• Bottled salsa, optional
1. Generously grease a 13-inch pizza pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 14-inch circle. If dough is difficult to roll out, let it rest a few minutes, then resume rolling. Transfer dough to pizza pan. Build up edges slightly. Prick dough generously with a fork. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until light brown.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook zucchini and/or bell peppers, mushrooms and crushed red pepper, if using, until vegetables are almost tender. Remove from skillet and drain.
3. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs and milk. Place the skillet over medium heat; add butter. When butter melts, pour in egg mixture. Cook without stirring until mixture begins to set on the bottom and around the edges. Using a large spatula, lift and fold partially cooked eggs so the uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes or until eggs are scrambled, cooked through but still glossy and moist. Remove from heat.
4. Sprinkle 3/4 cup shredded cheese over the hot crust. Top with scrambled eggs, vegetable mixture, bacon and remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Return to the oven; bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until cheese melts.
5. Slice and serve immediately, with salsa if desired.
Per slice: 283 calories; 15 g fat; 6 g saturated fat; 193 mg cholesterol; 16 g protein; 23 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 465 mg sodium.
Note: For an easier pizza, substitute refrigerated pizza dough for the bread dough. Bake according to package directions.
Adapted from "Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book" (15th edition, Wiley, 2010)
San Francisco Little Joe's
Yield: 4 servings
• 1 pound fresh spinach, washed, blanched and coarsely chopped, or 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 pound lean ground beef
• Hot sauce
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• Hot buttered toast
1. If using fresh spinach, drop into a pot of rapidly boiling water for less than a minute. Drain well, and chop coarsely. If using frozen spinach, thaw in the microwave; squeeze out any excess water. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until soft. Add beef, mixing it with the onion and breaking it up into small bits with a fork. Cook until redness is gone.
3. Add spinach and mix well. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, then add salt to taste. Mix a dash or two of hot sauce with the eggs, then pour the eggs over the beef mixture and stir until they are set.
4. Transfer to a warm platter, sprinkle with cheese and stir. Serve with toast, passing the bottle of hot sauce at the table.
Per serving: 390 calories; 26 g fat; 8 g saturated fat; 285 mg cholesterol; 33 g protein; 6 g carbohydrate; 2 g sugar; 2 g fiber; 280 mg sodium; 180 mg calcium.
Adapted from "Lost Recipes" by Marion Cunningham (Knopf, 2003)
Breakfast Club Sandwich
Yield: 2 servings
• 6 slices thick-cut bacon
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 4 eggs
• Ground black pepper
• 4 slices whole-wheat, multigrain or white bread
• Spicy mayo (see note)
• 1 or 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced
• 1 large Haas avocado, sliced lengthwise
1. Cook bacon in a heavy skillet or on a sheet pan in a preheated 350-degree oven. Drain on paper towels.
2. Place a nonstick griddle or a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter. When butter melts, crack eggs into the pan; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3 minutes. Gently flip each egg; cook on the other side for 1 minute.
3. Meanwhile, toast the bread until golden brown. Spread spicy mayo to taste on 2 slices. Top each mayo-spread slice with 2 eggs, 3 slices of bacon and sliced tomato; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add avocado; season again. Close the sandwiches and serve.
Per serving: 745 calories; 53 g fat; 17 g saturated fat; 485 mg cholesterol; 33 g protein; 41 g carbohydrate; 7 g sugar; 11 g fiber; 1,220 mg sodium; 80 mg calcium.
Note: To make spicy mayo, stir together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons ketchup and 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce.
Adapted from "The Big New York Sandwich Book" by Sara Reistad-Long and Jean Tang (Running Press, $23, 2011)
Yield: 4 servings
• 1/4 pound uncooked spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine or other long pasta (see note)
• 4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter or extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 1/4 cup minced pancetta, bacon or prosciutto, optional
• 5 eggs, beaten
• 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• Ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, then pasta. Cook until barely tender, somewhat short of where you would normally cook it. Drain and immediately toss in a wide bowl with 2 tablespoons butter or oil. Let cool. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. If using meat, place a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat; cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Add meat to cooked pasta. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter or oil to the pan.
3. Add eggs, cheese and salt and pepper to taste to pasta; toss well to combine. Pour into the skillet and immediately reduce the heat to medium-low. If necessary, smooth the top of the frittata with a spoon. Cook, undisturbed, until the mixture firms up on the bottom, then transfer the skillet to the oven.
4. Bake until the top is just cooked, about to 7 to 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.
Per serving: 305 calories; 24 g fat; 13 g saturated fat; 315 mg cholesterol; 17 g protein; 6 g carbohydrate; 1 g sugar; no fiber; 395 mg sodium; 260 mg calcium.
Note: You can substitute about 3 cups leftover cooked pasta; cut it into pieces so it doesn't clump.
Adapted from "The Best Recipes in the World" by Mark Bittman (Broadway Books, 2005)