Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I usually eat breakfast-ey foods once a day whether its at 8am, 12pm, or 5pm. I like omelettes, frittatas, pancakes and generally more of the savoury side of things. For years I cooked my eggs easy over, but in the past couple years or so I have discovered the decadence of perfectly poached eggs.
Of course, this is from an avid love of Eggs Benedict. That recipe will come later, but for now I present to you the Paleo (ish) version of eggs benny. This breakfast is sure to satisfy that buttery morning hunger pains. The key to all this is fresh herbs and quality ingredients. I cook a lot and I will tell you firsthand that organic tastes better. It doesn't keep as long, but its worth it for taste and your long term health.
Get free range, organic eggs. Your yolks should be orange! Not yellow! This is not photo editing!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Take your mushrooms and with a moist cloth, gently rub them to remove any dirt or debris. This is essential as mushrooms are quite porous -just like unfired ceramics!- and when you wash them under a running tap they absorb all that moisture. That means that when you go to season them they soak up less flavour! Cut the stems off, and set aside for later. If you're not using bagged spinach, rinse it and allow to draining your berry bowl or colander. Do the same with your fresh basil.
Now let's talk oils. When you're using oil for baking I highly suggest against going with Olive Oil. High heat destroys the Omega Fatty Acids -which beside the amazing flavour of a good olive oil is the reason to go with that variety. The low smoking point can also make it carcenogenic. Save your olive oils for vinaigrettes and garnishing, makes sense anyways because a good quality one can be a little expensive (I had the pleasure of trying one imported from Italy recently and it was AH-mazing!) My holistic nutrionist suggests going with a Camelina Oil as it helps to zap fat. Her words. I'll take them. It's got a yummy nutty flavour and isn't refined like avocado (second choice.)
So! Back to breakfast. Drizzle your oil of choice over the mushroom and season with salt and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet or baking pan and into the oven it goes! Set your timer for 15 minutes.
On medium heat in a frying pan, melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Chop your mushroom stems and chop finely. Add to pan, stirring every few minutes.
Mince, press, or grate your garlic. I make my own garlic graters- I prefer this method as it releasing the oils in the fibres. When your mushrooms are tender, add chopped spinach & garlic. The idea here is just to wilt the spinach and warm the garlic. I was taught in cooking class in high school to start every recipe with garlic and onions. THIS IS SO WRONG. Garlic is like an herb- the more you cook it (unless your caramelizing or roasting) the less flavour you get. Most people actually end up burning their garlic which makes it rancid and bitter. I buy Persian Garlic from the White Rock Farmers Market which has the most amazing flavour. Persian garlic is actually the original form, the crappy stuff from China you get at the store doesn't even resemble the amazing flavour of the original.
Once the flavours have warmed up and mellowed out (1-2 minutes) remove from heat and add your basil. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.
By now, your water should have little bubbles forming. You don't want hard rolling boil because it will be too violent on your eggs. Add your eggs, one by one, pausing to allow the water to maintain its temperature. Turn the temperature down lower, and keep the water at a point where little bubbles come up and around your eggs. I sometimes move a spoon around the eggs to make sure they're not getting stuck to one another. If you have more time you could also remove from heat completely and let it cook in the warm water -this is almost sous vide. I say almost because I the water is hotter than the 60 degree mark that characterizes sous vide. I actually don't know what temperature this is, I just know it works.
Keep an eye on your eggs; I use a ladle to scoop up an egg and drain the water off so I can gently press my finger into the middle to see how soft it is. You want your egg firm, but still malleable. Almost the consistency of jello. Remember that once you remove your eggs from the water they will keep cooking. So aim on the softer side to give yourself some time.
When your eggs are ready use a ladle and drain off the water, and put them all into a bowl. I do this so that any excess water can drain to the bottom and you don't end up with a soggy mess on your plate. If you haven't already, remove the mushroom caps from the oven, and place on your place with tongs.
Grate your applewood cheddar, the amount here is up to you. Place the cheddar on the mushroom cap, and top off with the sautéed butter/mushroom/spinach/garlic mix. Add your eggs, and season with salt and pepper. I LOVE the contrast that breaking the yolk gives for photos. Try it and impress your loved one(s.)
- 4 Eggs
- dash Vinegar
- 2 Portobello Mushrooms
- 2-3 Garlic cloves
- 1-2 tbsp. Butter
- 2 handfuls of Spinach
- 1/4 c. Applewood Smoked Cheddar
- 2-3 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp cloth and remove stems. Chop mushroom stems, spinach, basil, garlic & set aside.
- Drizzle mushroom caps with camellia oil, season with salt and pepper and bake for 15 minutes. If you want them a little more tender, cook them longer.
- Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat and add chopped mushrooms. Cook for 5-10 minutes. When the mushrooms are tender add garlic & spinach and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add basil.
- Fill a small or medium pot 3/4 the way with water. Add a dash of vinegar. When water begins a soft boil crack the eggs and gently open them into the water. Wait a moment between adding the eggs to maintain the temperature. Keep on low heat for about 5 minutes, then remove eggs from water and set aside.
- Remove mushrooms from the oven. Grate your cheese, and place onto mushroom caps. Layer with spinach mixture then top with eggs. Season with salt and pepper and serve!
- Dijon is a great condiment for this breakfast.
Photos by Hannah Cummins Photgraphy