Not to talk about the weather but because a dramatic shift in weather also means an actual dramatic shift in our life as farm humans: it is spring!! The snow has melted, the birds are chirping, the heat has been turned off, I’m deep in #VestLife, and the chickens are sooooo happy that they have more sunlight and grass to waddle around in. Last week, Eggboy put his farm hat on for the first time this year which means that spring planting is near and he’ll soon start coming in later and later at night smelling like sweat and dirt. The fields are bare right now but in a few weeks they’ll have little sprouts popping out all over and soon we’ll have a garden!!!! And I’ll no longer have to spend $5 on 15 leaves of basil at the Hugo’s on 32nd.
Since I’m not the one who tends to the fields, the arrival of spring for me pretty much just means that I work slightly longer hours in the kitchen since supper time is way later, and I go to the gym at night by myself. Usually by the time I get back from the gym, Eggboy’s in and it’s Westworld o’clock, even though the sun doesn’t go down until really late but maybe that’s a good thing because Westworld is creepy.
It’s usually in these warmer months when I start taking on bigger kitchen projects, like learning buttercream flowers or bagels, and I think that this is the year I’d like to finally keep a sourdough starter alive and learn to make good crusty bread.
Ok let’s talk bout this recipeep!
A solid 70% of the time, my mom and I have the same exact brunch order: eggs benedict hold the hollandaise. Just like pork and creamed soups, hollandaise sauce was one of those things growing up that *other people ate*. Who, really, I can’t be sure, but no one in our family. And I think it was simply because hollandaise sauce is heavy and unhealthy, and, to be frank, completely unnecessary. Or, maybe it’s necessary on other things, but a well-salted and adequately Tabasco’d perfectly poached yolky egg on thick Canadian bacon (I know! Pork! Somehow bacon never counted as real pork in our house!) and a toasty English muffin is nary in need of more. Hollandaise actually kind of hardcore effs it up because it takes a relatively healthyish breakfast option to bellyache status and, honestly, I wouldn’t miss hollandaise if it ceased to exist. Oops, this got dark! But the more I think of it the more I really want to just go back in time and convince the eggs benedict inventor to stop after the egg.
Here’s a version of eggs benedict that does have a sauce but it’s a better sauce than hollandaise, for it is feta yogurt. It’s a light flavorful deal that adds loads of brightness and I realize I just shat all over the very idea of a sauce on a benedict but in my opinion it makes more sense here. All it does is tie together the some great garlicky kale, a poached egg, and a fluffy homemade pita, almost more like a dressing than a sauce. And with this vegetarian version, the feta yogurt fills in for the ham in the protein department. This eggs benedict is salty, creamy, garlicky, and green. It’s one that doesn’t require you to order it without the sauce and a colorful main for your next brunch party.
And you know what’s cool?? You can poach eggs in advance: Simply transfer freshly poached eggs to an ice bath and refrigerate them in a container of water for a day or two until serving time. When it’s time to serve, reheat them by submerging them in hot water until warm. (more details here!)
As for the thick pitas you see: I made one batch of dough (recipe here) into 16 pitas and rolled them out just lightly, molding them more into slightly flat bread rolls as opposed to a flatbread, so they could be thick enough to get sliced in half.
Pita and Greens Benedict with Feta Cream
2 oz feta, crumbled
1/2 c (113g) whole milk greek yogurt
1/2 tsp aleppo pepper or paprika, plus more for sprinkling
2 cloves garlic, sliced
6 oz kale, thinly sliced
2 tb water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 large eggs
2 thick puffy pitas, halved
In a high speed blender, combine the feta, yogurt, aleppo or paprika, a few turns of pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and blend until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (this can be made a day or two in advance).
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the kale, a few pinches of salt, and the water, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and wilted. You may need to add the kale in batches if it’s too much to fit in all at once. Season with pepper and squeeze with lemon. Turn heat down to low just to keep this warm while you poach the eggs.
To poach the eggs, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Crack the eggs one or two at a time into a fine mesh sieve and let any loose bits of egg whites seep out (this step isn’t totally necessary but it will decrease the amount of wild rogue egg white bits) and transfer to a bowl. Carefully lower them into the boiling water. Cook until the whites are firm but the yolks are still runny, 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to dry off any excess moisture.
Toast or grill the pitas. Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with the kale and eggs. Spoon on the feta cream and sprinkle with fresh black pepper and a pinch of aleppo or paprika. Enjoy!