Hopefully all those chocolate Easter eggs have been nibbled away by now, if not chop up the remainder and add it to a batch of chocolate chip cookies or scones with some hazelnuts. You could even melt it down to make some chocolate sauces to drizzle over crêpes or ice cream. But in this column I am going to concentrate on eggs from happy lazy hens of the feathered kind.
Eggs are truly a super food, every cooks best friend. Unsurprisingly they are having their moment again particularly in the US. This was very evident on both the West and East coast of America. In virtually every restaurant and café, eggs were starring on the menu in some shape or form, not just for breakfast and brunch. Even food carts and food trucks were serving eggs in many guises.
In Portland, I loved the food cart in Pioneer Courthouse Square called “Fried Egg I’m in Love”, manned by a cheery chap selling a range of fried egg sandwiches, all with ‘punny’ names like Yolko Ono, Egg Zeplin and Sriracha mix-a-lot. Each sandwich has a fried egg, sometimes two…The eggs are sourced from local farms and all sandwiches are served on toasted sourdough, cooked “easy-over medium” and sprinkled with a special spice blend called Magic egg dust.
Another cart in downtown Portland invited customers to Build Your Own Omelette with delicious veggie or protein options on a croissant or bagel incorporating local seasonal ingredients and fresh herbs.
Other trucks did a range of poached or scrambled egg dishes and I loved the sound of Eggs Travaganza, at the corner of 52nd Street and Park in Midtown, New York, long queues for Mexican egg wraps, burritos, egg tacos….
I also heard good things about the Egg Tosti (version of egg and cheese toast) from Steel Cart. Last week I mentioned Daily Provisions on East 19th Street, Lower Manhattan my favourite new breakfast spot. There’s a constant queue for their breakfast gougères and breakfast egg sandwiches served on a brioche bun. Egg toasts were served on sourdough with a variety of toppings, sprezzatura and jam, English muffin with ricotta and smoked salmon, bacon, egg, spinach and hot sauce…..lots of hot sauce everywhere….
Avocado Toast with Labneh, Chorizo Crumbs and a Poached Egg on the side
1 slice of sourdough bread
extra virgin olive oil
½ ripe avocado
4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
125g chorizo, peeled and cut into 5mm dice
100g coarse breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon labneh
3 cucumber strips or diagonal chunks, seasoned with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and sugar (makes more than needed but keep in a box)
a few drops of best quality white wine vinegar
1 fresh free range organic egg
Segment of lemon or lime
First make the chorizo crumbs: Put the oil into a cool pan, add the diced chorizo. Toss on a low heat until the oil starts to run and the chorizo begins to crisp. Careful it’s easy to burn the chorizo, drain through a metal sieve, save the oil and return to the pan.
Increase the heat, add coarse breadcrumbs and toss in the chorizo oil until crisp and golden. Drain and add to the chorizo.
Chorizo crumbs are a brilliant resource, keep them in a covered box in the fridge. Great sprinkled over cauliflower or mac and cheese, soup…
Season the cucumber strips or diagonal chunks of cucumber with a few drops of vinegar, salt, freshly ground black pepper and sugar.
Pan grill or toast the sourdough, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Lay a few rocket leaves on a plate and pop the slice of sourdough on top.
Scoop out the avocado from the skin and lay on top of the sourdough cut side upwards. Add a dollop of labneh to the plate and fill the cavity with a little labneh and sprinkle lots of warm chorizo crumbs over the avocado and add a poached egg and some cucumber to the plate. Sprinkle with a few flakes of sea salt and add a segment of lime or lemon
Crispy Potatoes, Fried Eggs and Spring Onions
An irresistible but comforting brunch. The crispy capers add a delicious zing but are optional.
2-3 cooked potatoes, depending on size
extra virgin olive oil
2 organic free range eggs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 spring onions
5-7 capers, fried until crisp
Peel the cooked potatoes and cut into ¾ inch slices. Heat a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or bacon fat in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the potatoes, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until crisp and golden on both sides. Drain on kitchen paper and transfer onto a hot serving plate. Keep hot.
Heat some more olive oil in a clean pan. Add the capers and cook until crisp, 1-2 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper. Fry the eggs, sunny side up (or easy over, as you please).
Lay on top of the fried potatoes, side by side.
Sprinkle with lots of green spring onion tops, sliced at an angle.
Top with a few crispy capers; add a few flakes of sea salt and some freshly cracked pepper.
Egg and Sausage, Melted Gouda and Hot Sauce in a Brioche Bun
A perfect breakfast or brunch inspired by Daily Provisions on East 19th Street in New York
8 brioche buns with poppy seeds sprinkled on top
8 sausage patties, see below,
8 organic eggs, (1 egg omelette per bun)
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g to 175g (4oz-6 oz) Gouda, grated
Hot tomato and chili sauce, see below or use your favourite brand…
Homemade Sausage Patties:
(Makes 8 large patties)
225g (1/2 lb) good, fat streaky pork (rindless)
1 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs (e.g. parsley, thyme, chives, marjoram and a little rosemary)
30g (1 1/4oz) soft white breadcrumbs
1 small garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small organic egg (optional – helps to bind – reduce breadcrumbs to 50g/2oz if omitting egg)
dash of oil for frying
First make the sausage patties:
Mince the pork at the first or second setting, depending on the texture you like. Chop the herbs finely and mix through the breadcrumbs. Crush the garlic to a paste with a little salt. Whisk the egg, and then mix into the other ingredients thoroughly. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Fry off a little knob of the mixture to check the seasoning. Correct if necessary. Divide in 8 and flatten into patties. Keep covered and chilled.
To serve, split the brioche bun in half but keep attached at one side.
Fry the pork patty in a hot pan in a little extra olive oil while you quickly make a 1 egg omelette.
Heat a small frying pan over a high heat. Whisk the egg, add a little dash of milk, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add a little clarified butter to the pan, when sizzling add the egg, tilt the pan and quickly make an omelette and fold.
Sprinkle a layer of grated cheese onto the base of the bun and pop under a grill. When the cheese has melted top with the pork patty and the omelette. Drizzle generously with the hot sauce, fold over the brioche and serve ASAP on a square of parchment.
Tomato and Chilli Sauce
30g (1oz) green chillies, deseeded and chopped, or 2-3 depending on size
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut in 3 inch (2cm) dice.
2 x 400g (14oz) tin of chopped tomatoes
1 clove of garlic , crushed
1 dessertspoon castor sugar
1 dessertspoon soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablepsoons water
First make the sauce. Put the chillies, pepper, tomatoes and garlic into a stainless steel saucepan with the sugar, vinegar and water. Season and simmer for 10 minutes until reduced by half.
Omelette Arnold Bennett
Serves 1-2 as a main course
Omelette Arnold Bennett was created in the 1920s by the chefs at the Savoy Hotel to commemorate author and playwright Bennett writing his novel, Imperial Palace, whilst staying at the Savoy this dish should be a true British classic.
This delicious omelette would also be very good made with smoked salmon or smoked mackerel.
50-75g (2-3oz) smoked haddock
a little milk
25g (1oz) butter
150ml (5fl oz) cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
parsley, freshly chopped
25.5cm (10 inch) omelette pan, preferably non-stick
Put the smoked haddock into a small saucepan. Cover with milk and simmer gently until it is cooked enough to separate into flakes (about 10 minutes). Drain. Toss the haddock over a moderate heat with half the butter and 2 tablespoons of the cream and keep aside. Separate the eggs, beat the yolks with a tablespoon of the cream and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Whip the egg whites stiffly. Fold into the yolks with the haddock and add half the grated Parmesan cheese.
Melt the remaining butter in the omelette pan. Pour the mixture in gently and cook over a medium heat until the base of the omelette is golden. Spoon the remaining cream over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the finely grated Parmesan. Pop under a hot grill for a minute or so until golden and bubbly on top. Serve in the pan or slide on to a hot dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately accompanied by a good green salad.