Saturday, March 4, 2017

An Unusually Delicious Breakfast

I love breakfast. Most often, I eat traditional "breakfast" foods: eggs, toast, bagel, bacon, muffins, pancakes, French toast, oatmeal, and others. This is pretty evident, if anyone looks at my Index and the breakfast items that are listed there. Then, there are just times when none of those foods, no matter how much a favorite they may be, just do not - quite - fit the bill on a given day. Nothing sounds quite right, and nothing appeals.

Poached Egg & Brussel's Sprouts on Salsa Verde
Poached Egg & Brussels Sprouts on Salsa Verde

This does not happen often, for sure. I love all those foods, and trying to keep portions under some control is difficult for me. I love food. I love to eat. I love the flavors of certain foods. I enjoy breads of most kinds. I try to keep away from plain white-flour breads, but there are some. When I got into making breads from rye flour and/or sprouted flours, I found a great love for the whole grain breads. Eggs themselves are a particular favorite, though I now have to keep cholesterol in mind. You may get the drift.

Salsa Verde, and Steaming Brussels Sprouts
Salsa Verde  |   Salsa in bowl   |     Brussels sprouts in steamer pan    |    timed for 8½ minutes   |    perfectly steamed
So a couple of days ago, I was in this particular rut. I stood there in the kitchen, running through in my mind all the foods I would normally have for breakfast. And still I stood there, undecided. I opened the fridge and looked. Nothing. No ideas. I stood there some more. And then I thought maybe I should think outside of my particular box, for a change. 

I have done this before, at times. When I first found I had diabetes, I ate leftover (my own) stir fry for breakfast with all sorts of veggies in it. It was satisfying, and I love my stir fry, so no problem there. With that thought in mind, I opened the fridge again and looked. I noticed a jar of opened Salsa Verde. Love that stuff, so, okay, that came out. And then I saw a bag of Brussels sprouts that I had yet to open. Hmmm. Not sure, but got them out anyway. I closed the fridge while I thought some more. 
Finished Dish of Poached Egg & Brussels Sprouts on Salsa Verde
Poached Egg & Brussels Sprouts on Salsa Verde

Somehow, Brussels sprouts and Salsa Verde seemed an odd combo, but to me, at that moment, they sounded good. 

If I was going to eat Brussels sprouts, I prefer to steam them. Just barely cooked through, at about 8 to 8½ minutes, while they are still a beautiful bright green, they are so delicious. I got out my steamer. I set a pan of water to boil while cleaning the sprouts. I cut them into quarters, just so they would cook through quickly. I set them into the steamer part of the pan and used my "Misto" sprayer with olive oil and spritzed them a bit, then sprinkled salt over. I find that this way, the salt clings to the vegetables while they are steaming, and they are perfectly seasoned when done. Okay, that part of things was underway.

Then, thinking about the Salsa Verde. Normally I make my own (see my recipe here), but one day on a whim I bought two jars of Stonewall Kitchen Salsa Verde. I opened one a couple of weeks back, and it was really hot-spicy. Much more than my husband would tolerate, so I fried an onion with green pepper and garlic and added this to the salsa from the jar I was using, to tame the flame a bit. It was still spicy, but very tolerably so. I scooped some of this out into a wide bowl.

Making a poached egg
Boiling water from the sprouts    |    add vinegar    |     stir into a whirlpool     |   set spoon aside      |      crack in the egg

At this point in the process, I thought I would just have an egg with the sprouts. I got out a skillet for this purpose and set it on a burner to heat. As the Brussels sprouts were done and I lifted off the steamer insert, I thought about the boiling water in the lower pan and thought, "Poached Egg!" I haven't made poached eggs in forever, it seems, and here was the perfect opportunity. I turned off the burner under the skillet and instead added a dollop of vinegar to the boiling water and vigorously stirred the water into a whirlpool. I gently cracked the egg into the center of this whirlpool, turned down the burner to very low, and allowed the egg to poach for about 2 minutes, at which point it was just perfect: whites were set and yolk still runny.
Assembling the dish
Salsa Verde in bowl    |    Steamed Sprouts on Top    |    Poached egg ready to place

I had already toasted some of my Finnish Hapanleipa Rye bread and set it aside. The salsa was already in the bowl. I poured the Brussels sprouts on top of the salsa, then set the just-poached egg on top. A little grating of salt and pepper, and it was one beautiful dish. I broke the yolk, and sighed. It was a beautiful sight, for sure. Still, I hadn't yet tasted it, so that was still waiting. 

When I sat down to eat and took that first bite, I was in heaven. It so exactly fit something I had been craving without knowing what that was. Despite the odd combo of Brussels sprouts and salsa verde, it was wonderful. The egg was just that one added dimension. It was absolutely amazing as a flavor profile. The really dense Rye bread was a perfect accompaniment. It was so delightful, I decided to have it again this morning.

Poached Egg & Brussels Sprouts on Salsa Verde

Serves 1 
Poached Egg & Brussels Sprouts on Salsa Verde
Poached Egg & Brussels Sprouts on Salsa Verde

½ cup Salsa Verde (any brand you prefer, or home made)
5 Brussels sprouts

a sprinkle of olive oil
a sprinkle of salt
2 - 3 teaspoons vinegar
1 egg 
Salt and pepper for serving

Place the Salsa Verde in a wide bowl and set aside. In a steamer pan put in enough water so the steamer insert is not setting in water. Bring the water to boil. While that is happening, cut off a bit of the stem end of the sprouts and discard, along with any damaged outer leaves. Cut the sprouts into quarters, lengthwise and place them in a steamer basket. If you have a Misto-type sprayer, mist the sprouts with olive oil. Otherwise, simply drizzle a little oil over them and toss gently. Sprinkle lightly with salt. When the water is boiling, set the steamer over top, turn down the heat to a simmer and cover. Time for about 8 minutes, or until they are just barely tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Lift off the steamer basket and set aside. 

Turn the heat down if the water in the pan is still boiling too vigorously. Add in about 2 - 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Using a large slotted spoon, quickly stir the water in a circle to create a whirlpool. Set the spoon aside and quickly, but gently crack the egg into the center of the whirlpool. Do this just barely over the surface of the water, so it doesn't splash and/or disintegrate. Time the egg for about 2 minutes for a still-runny yolk. 

Pour the Brussels sprouts onto the Salsa in the bowl. Lift out the poached egg with the slotted spoon and set on top. Season with salt and pepper if desired. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.