Chefs To-Go: Keepin' it Copper | Restaurant Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Chefs To-Go: Keepin' it Copper 

Ryan Lowder of Copper Onion offers a tasty dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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ALEX SPRINGER
  • Alex Springer

Chef Ryan Lowder and his teams at Copper Onion, Copper Common and Copper Kitchen have been pillars of Salt Lake's restaurant scene for the past 10 years. When Copper Onion first opened, it was among the first local restaurants to really embrace the contemporary food vibe that was growing across the country. In many ways, Lowder and his team laid the groundwork for other local restaurants to carve out their own niches and make Utah's restaurant culture what it is today—or the one it was a month ago, anyway.

At the end of March, Lowder's three restaurants announced that they would be temporarily closing until further notice as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that has gutted local businesses like Lowder's. Though you can still buy gift cards—which you should totally do, by visiting thecopperonion.com—it's hard to live in a reality where you can't get Copper Onion's wagyu beef stroganoff whenever you want.

After I reached out to Chef Lowder for one of his favorite recipes, he was quick to respond with something that sounded deceptively simple and delicious—which is a trademark of Lowder's restaurants. He told me via email that it was something he picked up while living in Spain, and that it "makes sense no matter what time of day it is." It's a dish that capitalizes on the satisfying unctuousness of sautéed mushrooms, crispy fried potatoes and eggs over easy with a punch of herbaceous flavor from salsa verde.

Reading over the recipe, it felt like a good fit for my skill level. I've cooked all of these things before, though admittedly not in this combination. I also thought that this was a recipe that captured the menu and techniques that make Copper Onion special, predicated on an appreciation for simple ingredients prepared with love and tenderness.

One of the things that was fun about using this recipe is that it leans into personal preference. Lowder's instruction to prepare the potatoes any way you want lets cooks stay within their comfort zones, or get a little crazy. If we're talking potatoes served with eggs, I prefer home fries to hash browns, so that's the direction I went. I was going to use the olive oil as directed, but I had good bit of butter left over from the previous day's baking, so I decided to melt that down instead—frugality burns calories, after all. I used three smaller red potatoes, since that's what I had on hand, but I'd bet one or two russet taters would get the job done just as well.

While the potatoes were cooking, I busied myself with the salsa verde, which was the most revelatory part of this dish. Considering how easy this was to make, it had no right to taste as good as it did. This miracle drizzle can immediately class up a steak, a burrito or even a turkey sandwich, and I know I'll be revisiting this unassuming salsa very often. Like the Dude's rug in The Big Lebowski, the salsa verde really ties the meal together.

After the potatoes were done and the salsa was mixed, it was a quick matter to sauté the mushrooms in the leftover butter and fry up a few eggs. I like to add garlic salt to my 'shrooms when they're cooking, but a little Tajín seasoning in this context is a nice complement to the salsa verde. Fried potatoes and eggs are a no-brainer combo, but I had never even considered whipping up some buttery sautéed mushrooms and inviting them over for breakfast—which is a shame.

Once everything was plated together and I hit the fried eggs with some salsa verde, I was flat-out shocked by how good everything tasted. Not that I expected it to be bad; I just didn't expect this simple combo of food to give me such a wallop. It's a dish that cascades different flavors and textures on top of one another in exactly the right order. The crispy potatoes pair well with the silky egg yolk and luxurious mushrooms, and that salsa verde adds just the right amount of flavor variance to spice everything up.

All in all, this is indeed a recipe that would be appropriate—and delicious—for any meal of the day. It's made with ingredients that aren't too hard to come by, built on techniques that aren't terribly difficult. It's a great example of a sum that is much greater than its parts.

Fried Eggs with Mushrooms, Potatoes and Salsa Verde

2-3 medium potatoes
1 cup mushrooms
(oyster, wild or button)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 eggs

Prepare the potatoes to preference—fries, hash browns, home fries all work well for this. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the potatoes until they're nice and crispy. While the potatoes are cooking, sauté the mushrooms. Remove the potatoes and mushrooms when they are done, then fry the eggs to your preference. Plate the potatoes, mushrooms and eggs, and top with salsa verde.

Salsa Verde

½ cup chopped parsley
½ teaspoon minced raw garlic
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
pinch of chili powder
salt to taste

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir well until combined.

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