with an egg on top

Once a friend and I tried to count all the ways that one can cook eggs - fried (over-easy, or sunny-side-up), poached, boiled (soft or hard), baked, scrambled - and the many things that one can eat eggs with. Needless to say, it is a list without an end. And things without ends reveal great possibilities.

A few years back I started buying only organic eggs. This progressed out of several years of having only bought free-range eggs, a decision that was actually encouraged by my partner. Between the two of us, I am definitely the more food inclined one. Although he is excellent at chopping and makes a delicious moussaka and several German dishes that took me a while to learn to pronounce, I am the one who obsesses over food. He has told me this, several times. I am also the one who is more conscious about food production. Although he likes an organic beer, he doesn't think twice about the type of meat he buys. Therefore, it was a surprise when he insisted that we switch to buying more ethical eggs.

His reason for doing so is simple. We once stayed in a hostel in New York that resembled a garden shed more than it did a hostel. It was essentially a large room that was divided into tiny rooms with "walls" built from plywood and the type of crisscrossed wood that vines grow on. There were no windows, only about 100 rooms that were back to back. You could hear someone whisper on a mobile phone down the hall. He said it made him feel sorry for all of the chickens kept in cages and from that day on he has bought only free-range or organic eggs.

I also think they taste better.

One of my favourite ways to cook eggs is to poach them. I like having a soft yolk that mixes with what I am eating. Chickpeas in a tomato sauce is an especially good mix with the yolk. This recipe was written to serve four with two poached eggs per person. I usually omit the measurements and make it with one egg for myself. I find the measurements don't matter for this recipe and it is best if made to taste.

Poached Eggs with Chickpeas and Tomato Sauce

inspired by Lucy Waverman's column for the Globe & Mail


olive oil or ghee
chopped onion or shallot
chopped garlic
crushed tomatoes or fresh tomatoes with a bit of tomato paste
balsamic vinegar
ground cumin
sea salt
chili flakes or cayenne pepper
freshly ground pepper
a splash of lemon juice
fresh parsley or cilantro
grated pamigiano-reggiano or pecorino romano

1 or more eggs
white vinegar, optional

Heat oil or ghee over medium heat. Add onion and after a minute or two add garlic. Once fragrant add the chickpeas. Then stir in crushed tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes and tomato paste. Add balsamic vinegar, cumin, sea salt, and chili flakes or cayenne pepper. Let simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and add a splash of lemon juice and adjust seasoning.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a small saucepan. Once water has boiled, add a splash of white vinegar if you wish. Add the egg and stir the water so that the white part of the egg floats above the yolk. After three minutes, remove the egg with a slotted spoon. Serve the poached egg on top of the chickpeas and tomatoes. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and freshly grated
pamigiano-reggiano or pecorino romano.


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