I often say how much I enjoy eggs and how versatile they are. Today two egg based recipes that make a great breakfast or brunch or snack anytime. People are much less fixed about what meals they eat at what times these days so I think of these as quick, easy, tasty meals for whenever you like.
Shakshuka is a Tunisian-inspired recipe of baked eggs on a bed of spiced peppers and tomatoes. I like to add some chorizo for this chewy, tasty one-pan dish. The tomato mix without the eggs is fantastic with grilled fish, with chickpeas or with chicken.
This poached egg recipe is a variation on eggs Benedict but with a lighter sauce than the classic hollandaise. The sauce will keep well in the fridge for a few days. I have put ham in this recipe. This dish is a very popular breakfast in the restaurant with Burren Smokehouse salmon, O’Neill’s bacon from Enniscorthy, and homemade brioche.
Serves four to six
1 × 290g (10¼oz) jar of roasted peppers in olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp cumin seeds
½–1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
2 × 400g (14oz) tins of whole cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp caster sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh coriander leaves (optional)
Crumbled feta cheese
Sizzling chorizo sausage
Greek yoghurt (optional)
Chargrilled sourdough bread
1 Drain the olive oil from the peppers into a sauté pan over a medium heat. Dice the peppers and set aside.
2 Add the onion to the hot oil and sauté for about five minutes, until it has just started to pick up some colour. Stir in the garlic and spices and cook for another few minutes.
3 Pour in the tomatoes and roughly mash. Stir in the reserved peppers along with the lemon juice and sugar and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4 Make four to eight holes in the pepper mix using the back of a wooden spoon just large enough to fit the eggs. Then crack one egg into each hole.
5 Season them lightly, turn the heat down as low as possible, cover the pan and cook for eight to 10 minutes, until the eggs are just set.
6 Scatter over the coriander, feta and chorizo and serve straight to the table with plenty of chargrilled sourdough bread to mop up all the delicious juices. If serving with Greek yoghurt, put a separate bowl on the table so that everyone can help themselves
Poached eggs with buttered muffins, ham and sautéed spinach
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
40g (1½oz) unsalted butter
350g (12oz) baby spinach leaves
225g (8oz) honey-glazed baked ham, carved into slices
2 white muffins, split in half
For the cream sauce:
50ml (2fl oz) cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp softened butter
1 tsp snipped fresh chives
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Heat a large pan with 2.25 litres (4 pints) of water. Add the white wine vinegar and bring to the boil.
2 Break each egg into the water where it’s bubbling in the pan, then move the pan to the edge of the heat and simmer gently for three minutes. Remove the poached eggs with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of iced water.
3 When cold, trim down any ragged ends from the cooked egg white. These will keep happily in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
4 When ready to serve, preheat the grill to medium.
5 Add half of the butter to a large pan set over a fairly high heat, and once it starts to foam, tip in the spinach and sauté until just wilted.
6 Season to taste and drain off any excess liquid. Keep warm.
7 Arrange the muffin halves on the grill rack, cut side up, and cook for two to three minutes, until lightly toasted. Spread with the remaining butter.
8 Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the poached eggs and cook for one to two minutes to warm them through.
9 To make the cream sauce, place the cream and mustard in a small pan and simmer for one minute. Whisk in the butter and stir in the chives. Season to taste and keep warm.
10 To serve, place the muffins on warmed plates and arrange the ham on top, then spoon on small mounds of the spinach. Using a slotted spoon, remove the poached eggs from the pan and drain briefly on kitchen paper.
11 Place on top of the spinach and spoon over the cream sauce.