Combining many loves.. poached eggs with melted leeks. This is breakfast for dinner on crack.
Today is a bit of a double celebration. Firstly, Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! Its that day when Welsh schoogirls dress up in strange Puritan hats and schoolboys as coalminers. Its that day when that country to the west of England pin vegetables and flowers to their shirts. Fun factoid – the Welsh first joined forces with that delicious Allium, the leek, during a battle against those pesky Saxon invaders under the direction of.. Saint David! They wore them to identify who was a fellow Welshman to prevent crossfire. Clever Cymru. Yay for Wales! Cymru am byth! Eat welshcakes… et cetera. The leek is such a glorious vegetable it deserves celebrating more than once per annum. Like a giant, milder, sweeter spring onion, it makes a great bedfellow with my other great love… butter.
As well as St David’s Day, today is also the day before Thomasina Miers, of Masterchef and Mexican chain Wahaca, releases a new cookbook. Her latest tome, Home Cook apparently contains ‘300 delicious fuss-free recipes’. I haven’t got my hands on Home Cook yet but it has been available to preorder on Amazon. Fortunately, the Guardian has been publishing a selection of Miers’ new recipes in her weekly column, The weekend cook.
Given my penchant for eggs and breakfast food any time of the day, I had to try this recipe for poached eggs with melted leeks. True to Home Cook’s description, the recipe was reasonably fuss-free but SO delicious. Surprisingly, the recipe only has two ingredients that could be a bit of a faff to source. I’ve had some Za’atar lurking in my store cupboard for too long so was thankful to open it finally. I made an approximation of the Chipotle in Adobo by making a quick mix of tomato puree, white wine vinegar, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic and oregano. This quick mix saved me from having to locate a paste that would inevitably just sit in my fridge till rancid.
With the leeks melting in some salted butter, I quickly made the dressing while the poaching pan was coming to a boil. The dressing was little more than a quick fork together. The only think left to do was poach the eggs and toast the bread. Simple indeed. Poaching was a method of egg cooking I’ve avoided till I recently discovered Dan Doherty’s seemingly foolprood method in Toast Hash Roast Mash (the man knows his eggs). The rest was just a haphazard assembly job. Its nigh on impossible to make splodges of dressing and poached eggs look elegant so I won’t lose much sleep over the mess posted below.. As you can see, I used good old granary bread instead of Miers’ sourdough because it’s a midweek evening and I’m not going to any artisan bakeries after work.
My God though, messy as it looked, it was GOOD EATING. The dressing was an absolute knockout. Citrussy, hot, nutty, smoky and a bit creamy. It really elevated the dish. Miers’ said this dish was influenced by her Mexican travels (chipotle), her time around Shepherd’s Bush (tahini) and her Nan in Wales (leeks). True fusion food. I wasn’t convinced it would really work together. It is after all like eating hummus and eggs. It does though, like gastronomic alchemy. The dressing would also be great to liven uo a sad-salad or as a party dip. Maybe a bit too punchy to just spoon into one’s mouth although I did give this a good go.
If the rest of the book lives up to this, it’s a must-buy. I’ll probably just cook my way through the Guardian excerpts until I finally cave. In the meantime, here’s some lovely traditional Welsh costume.