I like to think of Aspen as a fairly trendy place. There’s great food, world-class shopping, hip festivals, and even bike-sharing. But a recent trip far beyond the roundabout might have changed my perspective on our delightful high-mountain bubble, at least when it comes to one major food trend: breakfast.
As it stands, breakfast is the Mexican food of meals: the same ingredients reproduced in seemingly infinite permutations. There’s eggs, pork, potatoes and bread. Maybe it’s straight up, in a burrito, with pancakes, smothered in salsa and cheese. Perhaps there’s a side of fruit. Or Hollandaise. Or, gasp, a steak. If breakfast, as they say, is the most important meal of the day, then why is it so boring?
Well, it turns out it doesn’t have to be. Chefs in non-81611 zip codes are flipping the script on the morning meal, with dishes that sometimes sound a lot more lunch and dinner-y. I’ve never been that into going out for breakfast to begin with, opting instead to arrange those main four ingredients to my liking in my own kitchen at a fraction of the price (except, of course, the morning after the increasingly rare occasions I found myself at The Regal Watering Hole).
Some of the dishes I’ve recently come across might have slightly ridiculous names — like Chicken & Foie-ffles (where foie gras replaces butter in the batter for waffles) topped with buttermilk-fried chicken, hot sauce, and Vermont maple syrup. At least I’m intrigued when I look at the menu.
Other “breakfast” dishes I’ve come across include: Octopus Stew (yes, Octopus Stew), Korean Fried Chicken, Jerusalem Bowl (fried eggs and za’atar-dusted roasted chicken on a bed of wheat berries, green lentils, barley and roasted cherries), home-made Pop Tarts, Vietnamese Steak and Eggs, Brisket Tacos, Yam Biscuit Mole, Quinoa Porridge, and Short-Rib Chilaquiles.
I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten at every breakfast spot in Aspen. And while I’ve had some stellar Huevos Rancheros, Crab Benedicts, omelets, and oatmeal buttermilk pancakes, nothing I’ve seen on any of the menus around these parts even come close to the level of creativity and inventiveness as some of the aforementioned dishes. Keep the classics Aspen chefs, but maybe also give us something new and inspiring too.
Jumping straight to Octopus Stew might be quite the leap for most of us, so start the transition nice and slow with this easy Bacon-Broccoli Quiche Cups Recipe. I made it in about 30 minutes.
Makes 2 Servings
4 bacon strips, diced
1/4 cup fresh broccoli florets
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt, optional
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped tomato
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. In the drippings, cook broccoli and onion over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs, parsley, seasoned salt if desired and pepper. Stir in bacon and broccoli mixture; add cheese and tomato.
Pour into two 10-oz. ramekins or custard cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 22-25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.