Eggs on toast, eggs on greens, eggs any way you please
Anyone else going through a lot more eggs these days?
Even though we're out of the holiday baking season, I've been cooking so many eggs these days. For breakfast (scrambled and poached), lunch (hard-boiled) and even dinner (homemade pasta dough), eggs are making many meals possible as my kids head back to their virtual classrooms and the monotony of being in a new year and the same ol' pandemic sets in.
Over the past few months, I've been buying higher quality eggs for many of those meals, especially when that bright orange yolk makes the whole dish pop, and these poached egg recipes are class examples of when you'd want to use eggs that cost 50 cents apiece rather than the cheaper, pale-yolked ones that I don't mind using for baking.
I'd like to shift toward using a vegan egg substitute for scrambled eggs and in baking in the year to come, but for poached eggs on toast or these baked eggs with breadcrumbs and greens, I'm happy to pay a little extra to a local farmer for a top-notch protein that's easy and quick to cook, no matter the time of day.
Eggs in Greens with Breadcrumbs
Crispy, coarse breadcrumbs, tender slow-cooked kale, runny-yolked eggs and a bracing dash of vinegar: This is an excellent brunch dish that’s endlessly adaptable for your greens — adjust the cooking time as necessary (I call for kale and spinach here and find that it’s best when cooked low and slow). You’ll taste the vinegar in this dish, so try to use a good-quality one. Simply rewarm them before adding the eggs and sliding the pan into the oven; you’ll need about 1 heaping cup.
— Lukas Volger
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large bunch kale (about 12 ounces), stemmed and torn into bite-size pieces
5 ounces baby spinach
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Plain yogurt, for garnish (optional)
Hot sauce, for garnish (optional)
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a wide, oven-safe skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-low heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until they darken a few shades and turn crisp. Transfer to a plate or bowl and season with salt.
Wipe out the skillet, return it to the heat, and add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Stir in the garlic, and when fragrant, pile in the kale. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every now and then, until wilted down and very soft and dark green. Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes more, until wilted down with the kale. Season with salt.
Raise the heat slightly and spread the kale in an even layer. Crack the eggs over the kale — you may want to crack them into a small bowl first, if you’re not confident of keeping the yolks intact.
Drizzle the vinegar all over, cover evenly with the breadcrumbs, and add a few grinds of black pepper. Transfer to the oven and cook until the whites are set and the yolks are cooked to your liking, 4 to 7 minutes. Serve immediately, dolloping each serving with a spoonful of yogurt and a few shakes of hot sauce, if desired. Serves 2 to 4.
— From "Start Simple: Eleven Everyday Ingredients for Countless Weeknight Meals" by Lukas Volger (Harper Wave, $32)
Zesty Za’atar Avocado Toast with Poached Egg
This recipe calls for harissa, a chile pepper paste that is common throughout the Middle East. It’s pretty spicy, so you only need to use a little bit. This dish also features one of my favorite Mediterranean spices — za’atar. It’s an extremely aromatic spice blend that’s earthy and flavorful, and I love adding it to so many recipes.
If you haven’t poached an egg before, it isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Though poaching an egg takes a little longer than scrambling or frying, I prefer a poached egg for this dish because it fits perfectly on the toast and makes the dish a bit more fun. Harissa is sold at many chain grocery stores and online. If you can’t find it, substitute hot sauce or regular chile paste.
— Brynn McDowell
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon za’atar, divided
1 egg (the freshest egg possible is best here)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 slice whole-grain bread
1 tablespoon harissa
Fresh basil, for garnish
Start by placing the avocado in a small bowl. Mash it with the back of a fork. Add the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of the za’atar, and stir to combine. Set it aside.
Line a plate with a paper towel. Crack the egg into a small ramekin and set it aside. Fill a medium saucepot with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low and add the white vinegar. Use a spoon to stir the water, creating a small whirlpool in the pot. Carefully pour the egg directly from the ramekin into the center of the swirling water. Once the egg is in the pot, put your bread in the toaster while the egg cooks.
Allow the egg to cook for 3 minutes for a runny egg yolk. If you like a more well-done egg, add another minute of cooking time. Once the egg is finished, remove it from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer it to the lined plate.
While your egg cools slightly, spread the avocado mixture over your toasted slice of bread. Spread the harissa over the avocado and sprinkle with the remaining za’atar. Place the poached egg on top of the avocado toast, and garnish with a little bit of fresh basil. Serves 1.
by Brynn McDowell (Page Street Publishing, $22.99)