asparagus with poached egg and pancettaÂ
The humble egg is a pretty amazing food. Not only are they the most complete source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids that our bodies need. They are the cornerstone for many different dishes. Imagine a kitchen without eggs and you would be picturing a very sad place.
An eggless kitchen would be incapable of producing a vast array of creations. From lovely egg mayonnaise to bernaise sauce, omelettes to frittatas, custards to zabaglione, icecream to lemon curd, pavlova to souffle, and cakes in all their forms. None of these delicacies would be possible without the magic of eggs.
When it comes to sourcing eggs, there really is no other choice than to pay extra for free range. Although it’s not often that I need to actually buy eggs. You see dear reader, I’m quite spoilt in the old cackle-berry department. My beautiful mother June is the proud caretaker of a flock of chickens known as the ‘princesses’. These princesses are lucky chickens indeed. They have a palatial custom designed mobile chicken coop called the ‘Begerky’ that was built by my creative steel-loving brother. These gorgeous birds keep our family pretty well stocked with farm fresh eggs.Â
But there is good news for those of you not lucky enough to have a mum with her own laying Isiah Browns. These days commercially produced free range eggs are not too dissimilar to home grown ones. While commercial eggs have a boring uniformity in size and your chances of getting a double yolker are pretty much zero, the flavour and colour of store bought free range eggs can be at least in the same ballpark as domestic ones.
Apart from their critical role in many baked goods, the arena where eggs really come into their own is for a weekend breakfast or brunch. And although there’s nothing nicer than rocking up at your favourite local cafe on a Sunday morning with nothing more pressing on the agenda that deciding between poached, boiled, fried, or scrambled. It can be equally as enjoyable to whip up an eggy delight for someone you love in the privacy of your own kitchen. Especially if you can do it in your PJs and hop back into bed to share the fruits of your labour……all good things…
asparagus with poached egg and pancetta
This year I am really making the most of asparagus season and am eating them at every opportunity.Â Eggs and asparagus are a match made in heaven. Throw in some meaty pancetta and freshening chives and you’ve got a brunch that’s pretty hard to beat.
Inspired by a Karen Martini recipe published in Sunday Life.
1 large bunch asparagus
50g unsalted butter, at room temp, chopped
4 thin slices pancetta
4T chopped chives
shaved parmesan to serve
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and simmer asparagus for 3-6 minutes or until they are just past being crunchy. Remove from water and toss in the butter and season.
Add vinegar to the water and poach eggs over a low heat for 3-4mins. You want the yolks to still be nice and runny. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain.
Divide asparagus between two plates. Top each plate with two slices pancetta and then top each with an egg. Sprinkle with parmesan shavings and chives and serve.
artichoke omelette with anchovies and thyme
Now that I’ve mastered the gentle art of artichoke preparation, I’m finding myself wanting to add them to everything. This was adapted from the talented Jared Ingersoll’s Danks Street Depot cookbook.
3 eggs, lightly whisked
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
2T olive oil
2 anchovies, chopped
1 globe artichoke
handful wild rocket leaves, to serve
Prepare artichoke by removing the outer leaves until you reach the yellow inner leaves. Using a bread knife trim off the top 2cm of the artichoke and then remove the stem. Rub the cut surfaces with lemon juice. For a more detailed description with see here.
Heat oil in a small frying pan (approx 18cm diameter) over medium heat. Quickly halve artichoke and using a teaspoon scoop out and discard the hairy choke. Rub cut surfaces with lemon juice and then slice very thinly and transfer immediately to the frying pan. Add thyme and anchovy and cook stirring occasionally until artichoke is soft and golden.
Season eggs and add to the pan. Stir rapidly with a fork for a minute or so until the mixture resembles wet scrambled eggs. Use the back of the fork to smooth the top of the omelette and then slide from the pan onto a serving plate rolling the omelette into a long log as you go.
Serve immediately with rocket leaves.
sourdough french toast with field mushrooms
I loove mushies and they’re another classic match for eggs. I usually team thyme with mushrooms but after a recent amazing dinner at the Bentley Restaurant and Bar in Surry Hills, I was inspired to use dill. They work really well together with the fragrance and freshness of the dill lifting the earthy goodness of the mushrooms.
Normally I have my french toast on the sweet side but a savoury version makes a great change.
1/4C olive oil
4 large field mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 small red chilli
3 sprigs dill, chopped
1T lemon juice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 slices sourdough bread
3 sprigs continental parsley, leaves picked and finely sliced
Preheat the oven to 200C. Heat oil in a large frying pan and cook mushies, garlic and chilli over a medium heat for approx 15mins or until golden and cooked through. Season well. Remove mushies from the pan and keep warm, leaving oil in the base.
Soak bread in egg for a few minutes on each side and then fry in the mushroom oil over a medium heat until golden on both sides. Place toasts on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 5mins or until puffy and sizzling.
Place one slice of toast on each of two plates. Stir dill and lemon juice through mushies and divide between the two toast beds. Sprinkle over parsley and top with remaining two slices of toast. Serve immediately.