Monday, April 18, 2011

Poached Eggs, Veggified

I’m still groovin’ on these lovely fresh eggs! Here’s another way to treat eggs like they’re really special, and it’s a bit healthier than “À la mode sunshine” and “eggs goldenrod”!

And if you skip the sop, this can be a low-carb breakfast, if you’re into that sort of thing.

I have to admit, this is not so much of a recipe as it is a “construction.” And it’s something you can put together easily for breakfast, especially if you have the right leftovers.

The first thing is, Heat your plates. Seriously, this little step is so helpful for breakfast foods! For me, this is easy to accomplish, since the pilot light in our vintage Maytag oven keeps it nice and toasty in there. All I need to do is set the plates in the oven first, before I start cooking. Or, if I’m really on the ball, I’ll set them in there the night before.

This recipe/construction is three things: poached eggs, cooked greens, and a tomato sauce. It’s improvisational; do it however you want. Also, I like to serve it with good, whole-grain bread, to sop up all the juices.

Poached eggs—you probably have a favorite way of making them. Here’s a link to a fairly classical approach; Sara Moulton simplifies it quite a bit; and here’s a technique “Bony-Patoots” has recently suggested. (You know whose version is the one I use!)

Figure one or two eggs per person. Cook them the night before and reheat them, or cook them last. At any rate, they should be warm when you assemble and serve the dish. I like the yolks runny!

The greens can be spinach, kale, turnip, mustard, kohlrabi, or beet greens—whatever you like, or have on hand—and you can prepare them however you want. Here’s how I make cooked kale, and it’s fairly healthy (especially if you opt for olive oil instead of bacon grease). Or you can do a full-fledged southern-style greens dish, which is traditionally packed with pork fat and sodium—so delicious! Or heck, you can prepare the greens in the Indian fashion, as palak paneer, which is zippier than the previous two.

Or to make this even more quickly, you can use frozen spinach or canned greens—just heat it up in a pan and season to taste.

For the tomato sauce, to avoid conflicting spices, I would flavor it inversely to the amount of flavoring in the greens. If the greens are spiced up somehow, then I’d just use plain cooked (or even good raw) tomatoes. But if the greens are rather plain, then I’d use a flavored marinara or spaghetti sauce (even one out of a can), or a tomato-based salsa.

It’s best to keep the greens and the tomatoes within the same ethnic flavor palette, if you know what I mean. I wouldn’t try basil-and-garlic (Italian-style) tomato sauce with greens flavored with ginger, cumin, and fenugreek (as in some Indian greens recipes).

Again—serve on heated plates, or shallow bowls. Plate the greens, then the tomato sauce, then the perfectly poached eggs on top. Garnish if you want. (Crumbled feta? Some chopped fresh herbs?)

And be sure to offer some toast, biscuits, naan, whole-grain bread for sop—whatever fits.

Special thanks and an “Op Op, Hooray!” to our friend Jane Phillips, who turned me on to this yummy breakfast combo!


Osage Bluff Quilter said...

That looks yummy. You talked about using spinach, now I am hungry for cooked spinach with chopped hard boil eggs on top. My Mom made that for us a lot. Only problem, is it grosses the hubby out when
I eat it!

Julianna Schroeder said...

Huh? It grosses him out--?! Do you chew with your mouth open or something?? (Ha ha ha!) Honestly: if he doesn't like greens, it's his loss!

Do check out the link to the Palak Paneer recipe--it's from that huge new India Cook Book, and it's very simple (you can make it without the paneer/cheese and omit the fenugreek), and it's way delicious. Unlike other saag/palak paneer recipes, it doesn't have any cream or yogurt in it.

My next thing will be to have poached eggs, Indian-style greens, with just a chopped ripe tomato on top. Mmmm.... (Or should I say, "Ommmm"??)