Don't toss those little bits of leftover corner beef. They're the start of a great breakfast hasn. | David Hammond Photo
Updated: March 18, 2014 6:52PM
Corned beef has nothing to do with corn. The word “corn” in this case refers to the “kernels” of salt used to preserve the beef.
Before refrigeration, salting meat was a time-honored method for keeping meat edible for the long-term. When you coat meat in a salt solution and hang it in a cool, dark place, the harmful microbes and molds that can cause meat to rot are sucked dry and cease to be much of a problem.
Corned beef is preserved brisket, usually with spices like garlic and cloves.
For St. Patrick’s Day, we boil and then roast our corned beef; this keeps the meat moist while retaining a little tooth. It’s usual that we end up with some leftovers, which is not a bad problem to have. As with turkey after Thanksgiving, corned beef is fine in sandwiches, of course, but for all the little scraps that don’t seem to add up to a full sandwich, a good option is hash.
“Hash” is a catchall term that refers to almost any kind of food that’s chopped up and, usually, pan-fried. Corned beef is especially good for hash because it has relatively high fat content; when fried, it becomes lush and crispy. This is a simple recipe for corned beef hash; enhance it vegetables or hot chilies.
1. Dice two cooked potatoes and one onion.
2. Add to 3 tablespoons hot oil and warm through.
3. Increase heat and add 1 cup diced corned beef; fry until brown and crispy.
You also can make hash using chicken, ham or some other protein. For deluxe versions, top with a poached egg. — David Hammond