Poached Eggs with Spinach, Feta and Pecorino
Sunday mornings are usually a lazy start in our household, and today was no different. A pot of coffee (Koutaba from Cameroon, bought at The Coffee Roasting Co in Somerset West) and my Blackberry Playbook Tablet allowed me to read the news and dig into my Twitter stream.
Hunger pangs eventually did get the better of me, and my dearly beloved, who was playing Solitaire on her Playbook tablet, began to mutter about breakfast and/or lunch (read brunch), which finally drove both of us out of bed and downstairs to contemplate our options.
We’d been speculating about chicken mayo something (enough let over chicken from last night’s roast, plus a cup of homemade mayo) or maybe poached eggs, or I dared to speculate, both together…
Thankfully, Mrs M rousted me out of bed with the notion of poached eggs and something, which rapidly morphed into something based on what was in the refrigerator and the garden, to whit eggs, home-baked bread, Danish feta, Pecorino and baby spinach leaves, oh and a sprinkling of chives. And here it is!
The spinach leaves are those green and purplish coloured ones, and the eggs are free range. The Pecorino Romano is an inexpensive alternative to Parmigiano Reggiano which I’d like to eat exclusively, but unfortunately cannot afford.
The rye bread is my own recipe. I bake sourdough bread every week, a 60/40 rye/wheat loaf, which if refrigerated in a zip lock plastic bag, lasts the entire week. It makes a pretty good sandwich – it’s quite a dense loaf – but it makes magnificent toast if you cut it about 5mm thick. We seldom eat shop-bought bread for a couple of reasons, chief amongst which are the flavour, texture, quality and the cost. As a matter of course, I avoid 100% wheat bread as it gives me the most awful heartburn. Pure rye tends to be rather heavy, so my sourdough rye/wheat loaf is for me, the perfect compromise.
I baked it a couple of weeks ago with Sam Linsell (@DrizzleAndDip ), and she assures me she’ll be doing a post on her blog about that particular adventure in due course. My pure rye loaf recipe is here and I’ll be posting my sourdough rye/wheat loaf recipe real soon.
to make this lovely, simple dish to feed two people, you’ll need the following:
4 free range large or extra large eggs: the fresher the better, since this ensures that the egg white will retain its shape and keep the egg “together”.
4 slices toast: any bread of your choice, but the rye or rye\wheat is a tasty, healthy alternative
baby lettuce leaves: a handful well rinsed and shredded
4 sticks Danish feta: by Danish feta, I mean the soft and creamy one, that is usually cut into long sticks. I used an Arista product I bought from Pick ‘n Pay. Cut it into blocks.
4tbsp grated Pecorino cheese
2tsp chopped chives
My poached eggs are made the old fashioned way, in a pan of boiling water. I tossed the poaching pan years ago. This is not the stirred method, by the way, which leaves you with not much more than a yoke coated with cooked egg white, which is aesthetically great, but if you want to eat more of the high protein white, my method works better, even if it looks less tidy on the plate!
Toast and butter your bread.
Heat a pan of water until it comes to the boil. Turn down to a simmer, carefully crack each egg, and place gently into the water. I find using the back of a knife to make a clean crack in the eggshell helps avoid shell shards in the egg, and also avoids breaking the yoke.
Another method to use, is to crack the egg into a large spoon, and then to carefully slip the egg into the water. the idea is to keep the egg as “together” as possible.
Gently wiggle an egg lifter under each egg to make sure it has not stuck to the bottom of the pan. If you’re a Spray ‘n Cook user, you can spray the pan beforehand instead.
Meanwhile, butter the toast slices, and dress with the shredded spinach topped with the feta cheese.
The eggs should be done in about 3 to 5 minutes or so. you can aid the process, by spooning boiling water over the yolks. You want the egg white cooked through, and the yolk soft and runny.
Remove the eggs with a slotted egg lifter, and allow to drain of as much moisture as possible.
Place one egg on each slice of toast, anoint with grated Pecorino and garnish with the chopped chives.
Tuck in and enjoy!