Tag: poached egg

Clean-Out-The-Fridge Soups

Food52 asked me about my approach to soups. Not just any soups, but big-flavor, clean-out-the-fridge soups to cure the winter blues. I love them now, but that wasn’t always the case. We’re like friends that had to learn to love each other. So I shared our bumpy love story, my basic soup formula, and three soup recipes from my new book, 365, on food52.com. Converted and convinced that a soup can be one of the best things to find on your dining table after a long day of work, I also decided to share my article on these pages here (you can find one of the recipes from 365 – for recipe no. 13: Kale and Borlotti Bean Soup with Poached Eggs – below):

We have a new habit, we often have soup for lunch, which is actually our breakfast as we only have green tea with lemon in the morning. My man started this new tradition a few weeks ago and I happily join in when I’m not in the mood for porridge or sandwiches. My relationship with liquid foods wasn’t always so harmonic. Soups and stews are very popular in Germany, thick lentil, pea, or potato soup enriched with smoked sausage (Knackwurst or Knacker) is a German winter classic. As a child, I ate it, but I wasn’t particularly fond of it. There was something missing, or maybe I just wasn’t ready yet. Then the eighties came, the Nouvelle Cuisine reached home kitchens and all of a sudden soups where always puréed and as bright as candy: yellow squash, purple beet, squeaking green pea pod. Shallow bowls filled with colorful compositions, smooth and shiny, conquered the menus but unfortunately not my palate. Despite their vibrancy, they didn’t excite me. This is essential to me, and my taste buds – I want, I need food to excite me. So I took a break of many, many years until I found the kind of soup that I like.

Fast-forward to today and it has become a constant in my weekly culinary routine. My basic soup formula is very simple:
1. Canned legumes and dried lentils that don’t need to soak overnight. I always have a vast collection of cans filled with butter beans, cannellini, borlotti (cranberry) and kidney beans on my pantry shelves, and bags of black beluga lentils, dark green French Puy lentils, and yellow and red lentils. Legumes make a soup rich and wholesome, they add heartiness and a nutty touch. It’s what turns a light soup into a proper meal.
2. Cleaning out the vegetable drawer. This drawer is a treasure box that needs to be emptied once in a while. Leafy vegetables, kale, chard, and spinach that start to wilt, sturdy roots like potatoes, parsnip, and beets that lie forgotten, the whole range of winter and summer squash, fresh beans, peas, and tomatoes. Every season has its produce that’s just waiting to crown a soup.
3. Using homemade or quality store-bought broth. My mother taught me to always cook my own broth, with leftover vegetables, chicken, duck, and beef bones, with fresh herbs and whole spices like allspice, peppercorns, and juniper berries. And a bay leaf, always a bay leaf. I then freeze it in 4-cup portions to have my tasty broth right at hand whenever I need it. I never use instant broth as I find it adds an artificial flavor. Broth is the base of a soup, it adds its taste to all the other ingredients and therefore deserves utmost attention.

Soups can easily follow the seasons and the cook’s mood. I want to throw them together spontaneously, quickly, without too much planning or overthinking. A quick look in the pantry and fridge and my mind starts playing. A soup is a simple, a frugal dish, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be exciting. Playing with flavors is a boundless game, playing with textures is at least as rewarding. And varying toppings allows the cook to serve a soup repeatedly without anyone noticing. Crunchy bacon cubes or dukkah, a dollop of velvety mascarpone or ricotta, a fried or poached egg, or a crumbled hardboiled egg, fried herbs like sage or rosemary, or roasted fruit like grapes, apple, pear, or apricot.

In my new book, 365: A Year of Everyday Cooking & Baking, I share a recipe for each day of the year, following the seasons and also the rhythm of the week, from Monday to Sunday, from quick and simple weekday dishes to luscious – and more time-consuming – roasts, stews, and cakes on the weekend. Soups are a constant treat in this rhythm, especially during the colder part of the year. There’s a cozy kale and borlotti bean soup for example, cooked in a flavorful duck broth (recipe from 365 below and on food52.com) – a clear vegetable broth works just as well – and it’s the perfect cure for winter blues. It’s crowned with a poached egg and when you cut through the yolk and let it run into the broth, it adds a creaminess that’s even better than cream; as an added bonus: it only takes twenty minutes for dinner to be ready.

A golden squash, parsnip, and sweet potato soup – basically the tasty finds of a fridge clean out – could be kept chunky but with a nod to the good old Nouvelle Cuisine, I purée it and also go for a more extravagant topping that makes this recipe fit for a Christmas table. Red grapes roasted with woody rosemary until soft and shriveled, and a dollop of whipped orange mascarpone turn this dish into a festive stunner (recipe from 365 on food52.com). However, crunchy bacon bites would make it even heartier and also quite appealing.

One of my favorite soups is the minestrone because there are no rules and limitations. Every vegetable, every combination that the cook finds fitting, works. My partner’s Maltese grandmother uses squash, carrots, potatoes, and kohlrabi, she mashes it a bit, and sprinkles it with a little Parmesan. It’s her famous minestra, loved by our whole Mediterranean family. You’ll always find a large pot of it simmering on her cooker. My minestrone, or rather one of them, is green. I use green beans, peas (which I always have in my freezer), and zucchini, but that’s not set in stone, and add tiny meatballs refined with lime and arugula. It gives it a fresh citrusy note, similar to lemongrass. This is the speediest of all weekday soups. Once the meatballs are mixed and shaped, the entire soup and meat only need to cook for about 5 minutes (recipe from 365 on food52.com).

So what changed my mind, what made me fall in love with soups after so many years of skepticism? First, the taste, I had to find combinations that excite me, but then there’s something else. Sitting in front of a bowl of steaming soup is one of the coziest things I can think of. It makes me feel good while I eat it and this feeling stays. A soup is a friend of my mind and my body.

Kale and Borlotti Bean Soup with Poached Eggs

from ‘365 – A Year of Everyday Cooking & Baking’ (Prestel, 2019)

Serves 4

For the soup
Olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
2 large cloves garlic, cut in half
7 ounces (200 g) trimmed kale leaves, cut into strips
5¼ cups (1.25 liters) homemade or quality store-bought duck, chicken, or vegetable broth, hot
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 medium sprig fresh rosemary
1 large bay leaf
Fine sea salt
Finely ground pepper
1¼ cups (250 g) drained and rinsed canned borlotti (cranberry) or pinto beans

For the topping
4 to 8 large eggs
Coarsely ground pepper

For the soup, in a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic, stirring, for a few minutes or until golden and soft. Add the kale, stir, and cook for 1 minute then add the hot broth, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and finely ground pepper, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the kale is tender. Remove and discard the herbs then add the borlotti beans and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and finely ground pepper and keep warm.

For the topping, bring a small saucepan of salted water to a low simmer. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl. Hold a large spoon just over the surface of the water and gently pour the egg onto the spoon. Lower the spoon into the water and hold until the egg white starts to turn white then use a tablespoon to gently scoop the egg off the large spoon. Poach the egg for 3 minutes. Using a slotted ladle or spoon, transfer the egg to a plate. Poach the remaining eggs the same way, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a low simmer. It’s best to poach 1 egg at a time, but you can cook 2 at once.

Divide the soup among bowls, place 1 to 2 eggs in the middle of each bowl, and sprinkle with a little coarsely ground pepper. Cut the tops of the eggs with a sharp knife and serve immediately.

Meet In Your Kitchen | Jessica Koslow’s Sqirl in LA & the Magic of Sorrel Pesto Rice

Jessica Koslow

It’s captivating to watch a craftswoman concentrating on her material, a carpenter choosing the right piece of wood, a tailor feeling the fabrics, or a chef taking about a new recipe and picking the right ingredients. Jessica Koslow is a craftswoman, but she’s equally an artist gifted with a huge sense for freedom and creativity and this shines through every single one of her creations. She’s also a scientist who critically re-thinks all the single components of a dish until the final result is complete, until the textures and flavors feel aligned, until it looks deliciously tempting. This woman is so much, which makes her one of the leading figures of a new powerful movement of female chefs in California, but also in the rest of the world.

Sqirl is located just around the corner from Vermont Avenue that leads straight to Griffith Park, the restaurant is almost unspectacular, pleasantly unpretentious and casual, but the dishes that come out of the kitchen can easily compete with Michelin starred restaurants. The open kitchen works smoothly, peacefully, every chef seems to deeply enjoy the part they have in the Sqirl universe, it’s a bit like friends cooking, just more precise. Like the Sorrel Pesto Rice, inspired by Pierre Troisgros, the father of the nouvelle cuisine movement, that blew my mind: Kokuho rose brown rice, sorrel pesto, preserved meyer lemon, lacto-fermented hot sauce, watermelon radish, French sheep feta, and a perfectly poached egg spreading its shiny liquid yolk all over this vibrant composition. And the Sqirl Chicken Salad with Marin Sun chicken, bok choy, dehydrated citrus and root vegetables, grated carrots, and black garlic vinaigrette balances crunch and tenderness, sweetness and bitterness, it’s a dish that excites and satisfies.

Jessica comes across as very relaxed, she laughs a lot, but when you ask her a question she pauses and takes her time to think, to answer with the same precision you can find in her dishes, in the same way that she designed her restaurant, and how she put her first cookbook together, Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking. There is a vision that only she can see that seems to guide her in the right direction. She used to be a competitive figure skater which explains her discipline and dedication, and when she stopped at 19, she channeled her obsession into something new: food.

From then on it was all about cooking, eating, and tasting. She was fascinated by the moment when you put the first bite into your mouth and you’re overwhelmed. That’s the experience she wants to create at her restaurant and she knows that she only has this first second to reach and convince her guests’ taste buds. She and her team are gifted with outstanding produce, which she honors in her creations and that she receives from farmers who are friends and part of her community. This is the foundation of her work: “Raw produce defines a season, it’s the passing of times and in California, thankfully, it’s such a delicious marker of time. Our produce is an exciting time stamp and a building block from there.” The Sqirl world is about dishes that feel familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, they create comfort and inquisitiveness, it’s about different layers and textures, using the raw natural produce, but also playing with it, fermenting, pickling, or dehydrating it. As exciting as it is to eat this woman’s food, it’s a pure pleasure listing to her words.

Sqirl is a breakfast and lunch spot only, but in 2018 Jessica will open a dinner place for all her begging, hungry fans, called Tel – keep your eyes and ears open!

In the next months, I’ll share many new Meet In Your Kitchen features with you that took me to California, Italy, France, and Japan. Thanks to Zwilling for sponsoring these features for our culinary trip around the world! Thank you, my man James Hickey, for joining me on these adventures and helping me take pictures!

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

Jessica Koslow’s Sorrel Pesto Rice

Serves 6

3 cups (600 g) medium-grain brown rice, preferably Kokuho Rose
Fine sea salt
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons (130 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (25 g) lightly packed kale leaves (stems removed)
2 cups (50 g) lightly packed chopped sorrel leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving
1 Preserved Meyer Lemon, flesh removed, peel finely chopped
2-4 small watermelon radishes, very thinly sliced
¼ cup (60 ml) Fermented Jalapeño Hot Sauce
¾ cup (85 g) crumbled sheep’s-milk feta

6 poached eggs
Fleur de sel
Freshly ground black pepper

Boil the rice in plenty of salted water until it’s tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Meanwhile, make the sorrel pesto: In a blender or food processor, combine ½ cup (120 ml) of the oil, kale, sorrel, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Blend until smooth, stopping and scraping down the sides as needed. Season with salt to taste.

In a large bowl, toss the rice with the dill, preserved lemon peel, 1 table­spoon of the lemon juice, and the pesto. Taste and add a bit more salt, if needed.

In a small bowl, toss the radish with the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and a pinch of salt. Set aside to marinate for a few minutes, until the radish is pliable and tender.

To serve, divide the rice among six bowls. Spoon a line of hot sauce across the rice. Arrange a little clump of feta on one side and a rosette of radish slices on the other side. Set a poached egg in the mid­dle of each bowl and season it with fleur de sel and black pepper. Gar­nish with a tiny sprig or two of dill.

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Watch my interview with Jessica in LA in September 2017:

 

 

Thank you, Jessica! 

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

At the moment I’m living, literally, next to a tree – our absolutely beautiful Christmas tree. It’s perfect this year. Lush and green, the branches thick and densely packed with needles, the straight tip rising close to the high ceiling of our living room. I’m in love with this tree. I decorated it straight after it entered our flat Saturday evening and we clinked mugs full of hot mulled wine to celebrate its arrival immediately. I moved my working space to the dining table, which is right opposite this beauty, and I have problems keeping my eyes on the screen of my laptop. In December, I feel like a distracted little child, all this glitter and sparkling, Christmas ornaments and cookie boxes – how are you supposed to keep your mind focused on anything else?

However, there was something that caught my attention: a wintery sandwich lusciously stuffed with fried sweet potatoes – not as crisp as normal potatoes but they make up for it with sweetness and flavour – salty bacon, poached egg and a little chopped rosemary made it complete. The composition is so hearty that I went for a dark bun sprinkled with linseed, sunflower and sesame seeds. It’s a keeper.

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

 

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

Makes 2 sandwiches

olive oil
sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced (less than 1/2cm / 1/4″-thick), about 200g / 7 ounces
fine sea salt
pepper, crushed in a mortar
bacon 3 slices
organic eggs 2
whole wheat buns, cut in half, 2
fresh rosemary needles, chopped, a small handful

In a large, heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and fry the raw sweet potato slices on medium-high heat for a few minutes on both sides until golden brown and soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a little olive oil in a heavy pan and cook the bacon on medium-high heat for a few minutes until golden brown and crisp, set the pan with the bacon aside.

For the poached eggs, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl. Hold a large spoon just over the surface of the simmering water and gently pour the egg onto the spoon. Lower the spoon into the water and hold for 3 minutes—use a second spoon to put the egg back into place if it slips. Lift up the spoon, let the excess water drip off, and carefully place the egg on a plate—you may have to gently scoop it off the spoon. Poach the remaining egg the same way, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a low simmer. It’s best to poach 1 egg at a time, but you can cook 2 at once. Once the first egg cooks on the spoon for 1 ½ minutes, let it float in the water— mind that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan—and poach the second egg on a spoon. Take both eggs out once they’ve cooked for 3 minutes each.

Brush the bottom bun with the frying juices from the bacon, spread a few sweet potato slices on it and lay half the bacon on top. Finish it off with a poached egg, chopped rosemary and crushed pepper. Season with salt to taste (if necessary) and enjoy.

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

 

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

 

sweetpotatobaconeggsandwich6

 

sweetpotatobaconeggsandwich7

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

Excitement in the kitchen! I made my first poached egg and it worked out perfectly. After a quick introduction to the art of egg poaching on Food52 I felt ready to give this challenge a try. To my surprise, it was much easier than I had expected so I could take my time and focus on the other ingredients for this week’s sandwich, grilled aubergine and crisp bacon.

My inspiration came from the great Sabih sandwich. I thought about it in the past couple days, how it combines all that lusciousness between two slices of bread, rich hummus, grilled aubergine and a boiled egg merged to true deliciousness. It could easily be too much but somehow this Middle Eastern sandwich classic does it just right. The egg and the eggplant are a great duo, they complement each other perfectly, so I used this idea but added a new flavour, salty bacon. I packed everything in between a large baguette bun and finished it off with some crunchy parsley leaves. I should warn you, this is more than a snack, it’s a proper meal, but anything smaller wouldn’t have worked, this sandwich has the same addictive quality as the scrumptious Sabih!

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

 

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Bacon Sandwich

For 2 large sandwiches you need

large, crunchy baguette buns, cut in half, 2
aubergine, cut into 1/2cm / 1/4″ slices, 1
breakfast bacon 6 slices
eggs 2-4
olive oil
coarse sea salt and pepper
fresh parsley leaves, a small handful

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil on both sides, season with salt and pepper and put them under the grill for about 6-7 minutes on each side. Watch them as they should be golden, partly brown, but not burned. Take them out of the oven and put the slices on top of each other on a plate, that will keep them moist.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry the bacon for a few minutes on each side on medium heat until golden brown and crisp. Lay them on kitchen paper to remove excess fat.

Put 2-3 slices of grilled aubergine on the bottom side of each bun and lay 2 -3 slices of bacon on top.

In a sauce pan, bring water to the boil, add some salt and turn down the temperature, it should be simmering, not bubbling! Crack an egg open and put it into a small bowl. Put a large spoon (the largest you have) on the surface of the simmering water and gently pour the egg onto the spoon. Hold the spoon with the egg in the water and put the egg back into place with a second tablespoon if it slips off the spoon (I had to do this a couple times). It needs around 3 minutes. When the egg is done, take the spoon out, let the excess water drip off and carefully scrape the poached egg  onto the fried bacon with a second spoon. Sprinkle with parsley, close the bun and enjoy!

It’s best to poach one egg at a time but if you are impatient, you can cook two at once. In that case, let the first egg float in the water after cooking it on the spoon for 1 1/2 minutes (mind that it doesn’t stick to the bottom when you let it float). Poach the second egg on the spoon and take both eggs out after they have cooked for 3 minutes each.

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

 

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

 

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

 

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich