Brunch is one of my favorite meals. And although I love meeting friends out for brunch, it is those loooong, lazy mornings loafing around in your PJs, whipping up a dish or two to be enjoyed over long conversation and a pot of coffee that I love. Ok, maybe not so much the long conversation, more like complete silence while pouring over the Sunday paper or favorite blogs. But you get the picture.
With ‘ole man winter firmly implanted on the east coast, the snow keeps on coming. And when a food blogger gets cabin fever, you can imagine what happens. Food happens. So bundled up in my best jammies and slippies and with some Bocelli wailing from my iPod, brunch was born on both Saturday and Sunday. Now I wasn’t exactly planning on making eggs both days but a Saturday night out to celebrate a friend’s birthday left me with a whopper of a hangover on Sunday (Don’t judge :-)). All I could think of was crusty bread slathered in egg yolk mixed with any sort of tomato concoction to soothe my pounding head. (And soothe it did!)
So you are the benefactors of my overindulgence – not one but two easy and yummy Italian-inspired egg recipes for your brunch repetorie. The first is a take on the classic Italian ‘Eggs in Purgatory’ with kale substituted for the tomato sauce. Feel free to change it up and add in some sausage or pancetta, other veggies (mushrooms?) or even some tomato sauce. Very easy and very elegant – especially in flannel jammies.
The second recipe takes a simple cannellini bean and tomato stew and kicks it up a notch by topping with a creamy poached egg and some yummy crusty bread. Rub the bread with a clove of garlic after toasting for an extra special treat. I usually make extra cannellini bean and tomato stew as the extra is always wonderful alongside some roasted chicken or fish. Or I occasionally toss in a can of tuna for a quick lunch.
So pull on those slippers, put on the coffee and get cooking! Buon appetito!
Eggs in Kale Purgatory
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes
2 bunches kale, tough stems removed, roughly chopped
½ cup chicken broth
Zest from ½ lemon
Few handfuls grape tomatoes, halved
Salt; freshly ground black pepper
2 or 3 eggs
1. In a large frying or cast iron pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until butter has melted. Add in the shallots and garlic. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent and the garlic fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Add in the kale and sauté until wilted, stirring frequently. (You may need to add in batches.) Add in the broth and stir to combine. Stir in the zest and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium low heat until the kale is wilted and soft, about 8-10 minutes.
2. Make little holes in the kale with the back of a spoon. Crack one egg into each of the holes. Season the eggs with a bit of salt and pepper. Cover the pan. Allow the eggs to cook until set to your liking. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and serve with some nice crusty bread!
Poached Eggs over Cannellini Bean and Tomato Ragout
1 pound dried cannellini beans, picked over, rinsed
¼ pound pancetta, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh parsley, chopped
1. Soak beans in water overnight. Drain. Place beans in a large pot and cover with at least 4 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender – 45 minutes to an hour. Add salt to the water once the beans begin to soften. (Adding it too early will toughen the beans.) Drain.
2. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add the diced pancetta and sauté until the fat begins to render – about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent – about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Saute until the tomato paste begins to darken in color – another few minutes.
3. Add in the beans, diced tomatoes with their juices and the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add in the cherry tomatoes and simmer until the tomatoes are tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. While the beans are simmering, fill a small, deep saucepan with about 6 inches of water. Add in a few splashes of white vinegar. Bring the water to a simmer (Not a boil! If you boil the water, reduce the heat so it is simmering gently.) Break each egg into a separate little bowl or glass. Once you have the desired temperature, gently swirl the water (not too vigorously) so you have a gentle whirlpool. (This helps keeps the whites intact.) Slowly and gently pour the egg into the water. (Be careful not to plop it in from high up…gentle!) Simmer until the eggs are cooked to the desired doneness (2 minutes – very runny; 3 minutes – sort of runny; 4 minutes – getting to firm). Remove the egg using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
5. Place one slice of grilled bread in a shallow bowl. Top with the bean-tomato stew and place the poached egg on top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and a turn or two of freshly ground black pepper. Serve!