Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Egg-Ceptionally Squeaky!

Uova Cotte nel Nido di Patate, Cavolini di Bruxelles e Pancetta
Eggs Baked in Potato, Brussels Sprout & Bacon Nests

It's like "bubble & squeak" in a bowl... but better! Baked in the oven! Made using a few fresh ingredients and a little inventiveness... and made to enjoy on a Winters evening to bring a little sunshine at last after a long, dull day!

Brussels Sprouts are the greens, the potatoes are freshly grated and the egg is kept separate as a bright and juicy centerpiece... it's a new interpretation of an old classic... and a fun one at that!

Traditionally, you would make bubble and squeak from the leftovers of Sunday lunch for example- the leftover potatoes and maybe cabbage... fried up a day later with bacon and egg which make this unlikely combination so surprisingly delicious and quite frankly, pretty irresistible!

To make my two little bowls of yumminess this evening, I needed a couple of handfuls of Brussels sprouts (around 20), 4´5 small potatoes, 2 eggs, 1 onion, 3 rashers of bacon, a little parsley and thyme, salt, pepper and a little cumin and nutmeg. Along with about 1 hours prep and cooking time in all.

This is a fun and flavorful way to enjoy a few simple ingredients in a slightly different way- and that#s always a good thing! Why always stick to what you know, when you can try re-inventing those things that you know and love... there is really no risk in it! But the promise of a lot more enjoyment! Who dares, wins- as they say!

Start off by peeling and grating the potatoes and then wringing out all of the juice... and yes, you will have reduced all those potatoes down to just a handful of pulp! Haha- fear not- that is exactly what you want!

Next, finely slice the onion and the sprouts and fry them together with the bacon, which I cut into small pieces, a good pinch of coarsely ground black pepper and a teaspoon of cumin seeds. Fry together for 3-4 minutes with no added oil- that bacon fat will be enough.

After 3-4 minutes, the sprouts will be cooked enough that they begin to fall apart- and that's a good thing! Keep them moving and keep scraping and stirring!

Next, add the grated potatoes and grate generously with nutmeg and keep on stir-frying for a good 4-5 minutes. You will find that the moisture that builds up from the sprouts and the potatoes will soon help to steam and cook them through- and of course it won't take long with them being so finely chopped and grated. 

Once you have done that, turn on your oven to the highest setting to get hot and prepare yourself a couple of small, oven-proof bowls for baking in. Mine were just 5" wide or so- just large enough for the veggies and 1 egg in each individual serving.

Keep stirring in the meantime until the sprouts and the potatoes become golden and tender- and don't be surprised at how much they wilt down as their moisture evaporates away... that's always the way with greens! What seemed like quite a lot of sprouts and potatoes will have shrunk down considerably... but just think of all of the flavor that is left in there now that all that water's gone!

After around 15 minutes of stirring, add a generous amount of finely chopped parsley and thyme, check your seasoning to see if you need any more salt, pepper or nutmeg and then stir everything together and go grab those bowls!

Spoon in the potato and sprout mixture and press it to the sides of your little bowls whilst it is still hot and then pop them into the hot oven to get them hotter still for 5 minutes.

Now, crack an egg into each bowl, season with salt and pepper, pop a little foil on top and bake for 15-20 minutes at 200°C. Cover them with foil at first, to trap moisture in, so that the eggs cook more efficiently, but also, so that the yolks do not toughen up too much from direct heat from the top of the oven.

After 15 minutes, remove the foil and let them finish baking until the egg whites are nicely opaque is not transparent... nobody likes a runny egg! At the same time- keep your eyes on them, because it would be a shame to bake them too firm too!

Remember that the residual heat in the bowls and the vegetables will make the eggs keep on cooking for a while after you take them out of the oven! But hey! I can trust you to do something as simple as baking an egg all by yourselves, right?!?

I sure hope so- because I also trust that you will be delighted with the result! And that you thoroughly enjoy it!

No comments:

Post a Comment