The Incredible Edible etc.: Veg-Egg Duos

One of my favorite light meals is the combination of eggs and vegetables with toast. I’ve already written about that luscious long-cooked broccoli, but there is an infinite number of variations. Incidentally, most would benefit from eating with a knife and fork, rather than attempting to use your hands, as we keep trying to do—I always seem to end up with half my meal tumbling off onto the plate or my lap. Anyway, I could just keep adding and adding to this post, but I’m tired of seeing it in my Drafts folder, so I’ll draw the line at three for now.

My first duo is pretty classic: boiled dinosaur kale with poached eggs from the The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Judy Rodgers gives four ways of serving her boiled kale; in the simple one I chose, the sturdy kale wilts, and the runny yolks form a delicious sauce together with the vegetables and shaved parmesan. I had a leftover bratwurst in the refrigerator, so I diced and sauteed it, to add a little more protein to the meal.

Boiled Kale on Toast

Generous 8 oz kale, preferably Tuscan kale (also known as dinosaur kale, lacinato kale, or cavolo nero)
1 1/2 C diced yellow onion
5 T olive oil
A pinch of red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, slivered
3-4 C water

Trim the kale of any damaged or discolored leaves, wash thoroughly in cold water, and drain; stack and roll several leaves at a time, and slice into 1/8″ ribbons.

Place the onions and oil in a 4-quart saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring a few times, while you work on the kale, until the onion is translucent but firm, about 3 minutes. Add the chili flakes, garlic, and kale, and stir until it all wilts, about 5 minutes. Add water to cover by about 1/2″ and bring to a simmer; add salt to taste and simmer, covered, until the kale is tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes.

Transfer kale to a wide saute pan, liquid and all. Crack 1-2 eggs per person into the pan, drizzle with olive oil, cover, and cook at a bare simmer until done to your liking. Serve eggs with kale over toast, with some parmesan or romano if desired.

Source: The Zuni Cafe Cookbook, by Judy Rodgers

The second veg-egg duo was one I made way back in June. I visited the farmer’s market and brought home a bundle of opalescent white asparagus, which I had never tried before. It cost a bit more than the typical green asparagus, but the blush of pink and purple in the stalks was too lovely to resist. Because white asparagus is popular in Belgium—they do like their vegetables pale, don’t they?—I tried out a Belgian egg and lemon sauce written up here, on Lindy’s blog, Toast. Despite some issues with my hard-boiled eggs (they were too fresh, and the whites kept peeling off right along with the shells), this was a tasty and fresh take on asparagus, and be sure you have some good bread to mop up any extra sauce.

I still think I prefer my pan-roasted asparagus with poached eggs, but this was a nice change of pace and satisfied my curiosity about white asparagus.

Most recently, I brought home a huge head of escarole, and made us a quick lunch of wilted greens, scrambled eggs, and crispy prosciutto over homemade potato bread. I was going by a recipe, and thought the end result had very good flavor, but a rather unappealing appearance, as the greens turned my eggs a sad beige color. Next time I’d go with my gut instinct and serve with poached or oil-basted eggs.

Escarole and Eggs on Toast

1.5 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips and separated
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 double handfuls coarsely chopped escarole
4 eggs
4 slices of artisan bread, toasted
Parmesan cheese, optional
Salt and pepper

In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, stir prosciutto in olive oil until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer prosciutto to paper towels to drain. Reduce heat to medium.

Add garlic to pan and stir until golden. Stir in escarole and 1/4 cup water; cover and simmer until escarole is tender to bite, about 5 minutes. Drain off any remaining water.

Meanwhile, cook eggs according to your preference. Poached, soft-scrambled, or oil-basted would be equally delicious.

Set toasted bread on plates and top with escarole, then eggs, proscuitto and shavings of cheese, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Source: Loosely based on Sunset.

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