Sunday breakfasts: Poached eggs on a bed of spinach and tomatoes

April 3, 2011

Poached eggs on a bed of spinach and tomatoes

For years, I refused to eat eggs. I had eaten them as a kid and somewhere along the way, I decided I didn’t like them. Then came the college years, and one morning while peering into my fridge, looking for something to eat, I decided if I put enough cheese in a scrambled egg it might be edible. Surprise! It was!

So for a few more years, I only ate scrambled eggs, with a liberal amount of cheese. Then I branched out to scrambled egg with cheese and sausage, or basically an omelet. Then one day, sitting down to breakfast at Brennan’s, I decided, “What the hell! Let’s try an Eggs Benedict!”. A discovery was made. I don’t really like my eggs scrambled. I love runny egg yolk. Poached, over-easy, sunny-side-up, fried – eggs are friggin’ delicious this way. There’s really not much better than sliding your fork into the yolk area and watching it pour out everywhere.

Which leads me to this Sunday morning breakfast. Had I not had the epiphany while sitting at Brennan’s, sipping a Mr. Funk, I would have never tried this recipe. And I never would have discovered how perfect the combination of tomatoes, spinach, and egg yolk is.

I discovered this recipe in a Martha Stewart many years ago. Unfortunately I don’t know where it is now, so I just sort of make it up as I go along these days. You’ll need eggs, vinegar, tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and olive oil, which are things that I generally have on hand (part of the beauty of the recipe).

Start by getting the water boiling for your eggs. I like to use my large, straight-sided skillet for this so I can nestle 2 or 3 eggs in there, and easily scoop them out.

Tomatoes and garlic

Now let’s turn our attention to the tomatoes and garlic. I had cherry tomatoes today, so I took them (about 12 for the 2 of us) and sliced them into quarters. You can use any type of tomato, just dice them into chunks. My garlic was a bit small, so I minced two cloves of it for use today.

Put a drizzle of olive oil into another skillet over medium heat. Put about half the garlic and all of the tomatoes in, and season with salt and pepper. Cook the tomatoes until very soft and just beginning to break down, then remove them with a spoon and keep warm (I kept them in a cup near the stove).

Now it’s spinach time. If you need to add a little extra oil to the skillet, do so. Add the rest of the garlic and let it soften a bit, then add a lot of baby spinach to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper.

Lots of spinach

I’m serious, pack the spinach in there, because it cooks down. A lot. See, it’s already shrinking!

The incredible shrinking spinach

At this point, your water should be boiling for the eggs. Add about a tablespoon of vinegar (I used white wine today, you can use regular, white wine, champagne – you get the idea) and a dash or 3 of salt to the pot. At this point, grab your eggs from the refrigerator and break them into separate cups.

Eggs in cups

You can follow whatever method you use for poaching eggs, but this is mine. Pull the boiling water off the burner, and gently slide the cups sideways down into the water, letting the egg white set a bit before completely pulling away the cup.

Poaching eggs

Then cover the pot, and set your timer for 1.5 minutes, and turn your attention back to the spinach.

The spinach

I told you the spinach would disappear into nothing. It’s time to plate.

Place a bed of spinach on each plate. Top with the tomato mixture. Your timer should be beeping at you at this point. I set it for 1.5 minutes because I know that’s when I should be starting to search for my spoon, uncover the pot, etc., which will take another 30 seconds at least. I’m serious about my runny egg yolk.

Uncover the pot, and with a slotted spoon, take out the first egg you dropped into the water. Let the water drain off, and dab with a paper towel to get any excess moisture off the egg. Slide it on top of the tomato mixture, and repeat with the second egg.

Salt and pepper this bad boy, and if you have some chives on hand, snip a few over the top. Tada!! You’ve just made Sunday breakfast.

Settle in with your coffee, and partake in the best part… Breaking into the runny egg yolk!

Oooohhhh - runny egg yolk

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