Simple is good. Especially in the morning when I’m practically simultaneously getting dressed, packing two lunches, and trying to make sure we get breakfast in under the wire. Not that Nick hasn’t tried helping in the past, it’s just that every egg turns out that weird, half-scrambled oddity in his hands and lunches will be bypassed as he “doesn’t care about lunch.” So to keep him from suddenly caring about lunch as he passes by a Bad Food 4U R US, I take it upon myself to make sure he’s got some decent snacks too when he heads out.
And while simple rules weekday mornings in our house, I get really bored by too much repetition. I have to find new ways to walk to work, new routes to drive, and variations on the egg. So here’s one for those who, like me, enjoy a morning egg due to it’s high protein, Omega 3s and iron, but need it re-amped.
First things first- Pesto! You can make this the night before if you’re really crunched for time in the morning, but it’s not much of an endeavor either way. I’ve always held pesto in regard as some mystical concoction created by the finest chefs along the Adriatic Coasts inspired by the nautical breezes and lush trees, heavy with olives.
My imagination teeters on indulgent. It is a masterpiece of flavor, but that doesn’t mean regular people like you and me can’t whip up that little something zesty and fresh to bring a little pop to any number of dishes.
That’s what pesto does. It pops. Even the name pops. It’s exciting, tantalizing even. Yeah, I went there. Pesto tantalizes me. Traditionally, you’d add parmesan cheese too, but candida dieters will want to skip it to avoid the milk sugars. So this version is cheese-free, but pops just as much. This is also a great version of pesto for those of paleo and vegan persuasion.
We have a little ledge outside our window where I’ve grown my first little urban herb garden. The basil I picked right from there and gave it a rinse. How cool am I?
Just with it’s usual olive oil, pesto is an exciting addition, but I happened to have some toasted pumpkin seed oil, so I substituted that for the oil base. On account of being toasted, it added it a warmer flavor with a boosted nuttiness in addition to the pine nuts.
The pine nuts should be toasted to really nail the crumbly texture and browned accents in the sauce. The last star of pesto is the garlic. This guy I picked up at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. He looks pretty cute posing with these chubby slices of heirloom tomato, also procured from the market.
Blend the oil, chopped garlic, pine nuts and basil and you’re in business. It’s really that simple. Isn’t that funny? Not intimidating at all.
I steamed some swiss chard to bed the egg on, and sliced up an heirloom tomato. Heirlooms are milder than regular vine tomatoes, which worked for this dish, but are by no means a must.
Now just to mix up the form a little, I decided to poach an egg, which again, has always intimidated me completely unnecessarily. You pretty much heat water, make a little whirlpool and drop you egg in there. Salt and vinegar in the water help it hold it’s shape. I followed these simple instructions from Alton Brown at Food Network. I simply adjusted it by using apple cider vinegar instead of white.
The benefit of poaching the egg is the silky texture when the egg bursts and combines with the softened chard leaves and mild tomatoes, leaving the crunchy texture to the pesto sauce. If you make the pesto beforehand, you’ll be cutting board to table in 15 minutes. If you decide to make the pesto that morning, give yourself an extra 20 minutes including preheating the oven for toasting the pine nuts and all.
Isn’t pesto way easier to make than you always thought? Or are you a veteran pesto-maker? In which case, did you try it with the toasted pumpkin oil? What did you think?
- For the Pesto
- ⅓ Cup Toasted Pumpkin Seed or Olive Oil
- ½ Cup pine nuts
- 2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
- 2 Cloves garlic, chopped
- ⅛ to ½ teaspoon of sea salt (depending on taste)
- For the Eggs
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
- For the Sides
- 3 to 4 leaves of swiss chard
- 1 Heirloom (Or whatever you prefer) tomato
- For the Pesto
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Spread the pine nuts out on a cookie sheet.
- Once heated, place the tray in the oven and let it toast for 8 to 10 minutes depending on your oven. The nuts should become fragrant, but not smell burned. Once they're slightly browned and smell toasty, they're done.
- Pull them out and let them cool while you peel and chop your garlic.
- Rinse basil leaves and pat dry
- Blend pesto ingredients with a flat blade blender or in food processor until fairly smooth.
- Add water to large pot with steaming basket
- Tear the leaves away from the chard stems and place in steamer. Steam on medium high heat for about 8 minutes or until softened, but not dull in color.
- Fill a small or medium pot about 1 inch deep with water (about 3 cups depending on size of pot)
- Add salt and vinegar
- Bring to simmer over medium heat.
- Crack cold fresh eggs into a small bowl or ramekin.
- Use a spoon to stir the water and make a whirlpool in the pot.
- Gently pace the eggs into the center of the whirlpool
- Put the lid on the pot, turn off the heat and leave it alone for 5 minutes.
- Place steamed chard and tomato slices on plate.
- Remove egg from water with a slotted spoon and place on chard.
- Slather a nice dab of pesto on the plate or right on the egg. Done! Sassy beakfast.