I'm So Eggcited (and I Just Can't Hide It): Poached Eggs with Yogurt, Sage and Chili Flakes

Poached Eggs with Sage and Chili/Paprika

Eggs. Huevos, oeuf, baitza, bayd, uova, tomago, dalgyal, vejce. I truly love them in any language. They are a binding ingredient in fritters, vegetarian burgers and galettes. They are a key component of Shakshukah. And they make breakfasts substantial. The best eggs come from local farms and are not factory produced. These eggs have a much better flavor, rise higher and often have a richer color (sometimes they are even orange).

Spanish Eggs

While I love a good scrambled egg, here are two omelette combinations that I am absolutely crazy about:

Omelette with Pesto and Asiago Cheese (Inspired by Jack the Horse Tavern, Brooklyn)
Omelette with Salsa Verde and Swiss Gruyere (Inspired by Diner, Brooklyn)
This is another wonderful combination and it comes from The Moro Cookbook. I guarantee that it will impress any egg-lover. This dish is made special by the sweet and crispy sage, caramelized butter and fiery chili flakes (or paprika).
Poached Eggs with Yogurt, Sage and Chili Flakes (Courtesy of The Moro Cookbook)
1 small bunch fresh sage, leaves picked from the stalks
1 garlic clove, crush to a paste with salt
12 ounces of Greek yogurt, thinned with 2 tablespoons of milk
3 tablespoons of butter (original recipe calls for 4, but I think 2 is enough)deddsxz
1 dessert-size spoon of vinegar (any)
4 eggs (I go with organic, free-range)
1 teaspoon of Turkish chili flakers or paprika
sea salt and black pepper (to taste)
Caramelize the butter by putting 3 tablespoons in a small sauce pan over a low heat. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the white bits turn golden brown. The butter will give off a nutty, caramelized aroma. Be sure not to let it get too dark or burn. Add sage leaves and fry quickly for a seconds, preferably until crisp. Remove from heat and place the sage on a paper towel. Set the butter aside.
Place a large pan of water over high heat and bring it to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to bubble, mix the garlic with the yogurt and taste for seasoning. Now return back to the water and add vinegar and a pinch of salt and lower heat so that is very hot but no longer bubbling. With a wooden spoon, stir the water rapidly in one direction. Break the eggs, one by one, into the water.
While the eggs are setting, you can get your plating ready. Lay out shallow bowls and put a large dollop of the garlic-yogurt mixture in the center of each one. Make a small well in the middle of the yogurt for each egg. When the eggs are cooked to your liking, drain them of water and place them in the bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Warm up the butter and spoon it over the yogurt and eggs. Finally place the sage leaves and chili flakes (or paprika) on top. You can serve with french bread or pita. Enjoy!
Serves 4.

Egg poaching tip from Alice Waters:
"Without breaking the yolks, crack the eggs into individual cups or small bowls. When the water is very hot, but not bubbling, hold the cup right at the level of the water and carefully slide the egg in. This gentle entry into the water will help the egg keep its shape. After a minute you can gently stir the water a while to discourage the eggs from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
The cooking time will vary depending on the number of eggs, their size and the temperature they were when they went into the water. On average, a single large egg straight from the refrigerator will take 3 minutes to cook. For a firmer yolk allow up to 5 minutes."

¡Garbanzos con Espinacas! (Chickpeas and Spinach)

When my son was 6 weeks old, my husband and I decided to be adventurous and take him to Spain on a 10 day family vacation. The trip was amazing and we had such an incredible time.
We went on historic walking tours of Barcelona, visited the Dali Museum in Figures, strolled around the City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia, marveled at Gaudi's architecture and the jaw-dropping Sagrada Familia. And we ate. A lot. My husband said that he "ate his body weight in Serrano ham." I ate my body weight in cheese. (Dear Manchego, I am so fond of you!)
We went to the local markets in search of fresh produce, artisanal bread and local cheeses almost every day. I loved the ubiquitous Pan con Tomate and Patatas Bravas-- vegetarian-friendly tapas that were on every menu.
Spanish cuisine has many influences-- from the Arabic spices that were introduced during the Moorish Invasion which lasted 700 years (from the 8th to 15th centuries) to the flavors of the Muslim Mediterranean and Africa (the so called the "Saffron-Cinnamon" link).


Small plates at Inopia, Barcelona

A short while after we returned from our trip, my husband gifted me The Moro Cookbook and it is fast becoming my culinary bible. The dish below is an adaptation of one of their recipes which was also featured on Smitten Kitchen.
Garbanzos con Espinacas (Adapted from Moro: The Cookbook by Smitten Kitchen)
1/2 pound (230 grams) dried chickpeas, cooked until soft and tender or two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound of spinach, washed
A hefty 1-inch slice from a country loaf or about 2 slices from sandwich loaf bread (2.5 ounces or 75 grams), crusts removed and cut inset small cubes
1/2 cup (4 ounces) tomato sauce (I use Muir Glen's Tomato Sauce)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (I like to add a little bit more)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice, to taste
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add half the olive oil. When it is hot, add the spinach with a pinch of salt (in batches, if necessary) and stir well. Remove when the leaves are just tender, drain in a colander and set aside.
Heat 2 more tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the bread for about 5 minutes or until golden brown all over, then the remaining tablespoon of oil and the garlic, cumin and pepper. Cook for 1 minute more or until the garlic is nutty brown.
Transfer to a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle along with the vinegar, and mash to a paste. Return the mixture to the pan and add the drained chickpeas and tomato sauce. Stir until the chickpeas have absorbed the flavors and are hot. Season with salt and pepper.
If the consistency is a little thick, add some water. Now add the spinach and cook until it is hot. Check for seasoning and serve with paprika on top and/or on fried bread toasts (as the Spanish do).