Garlicky Greens and Eggs
The greens are flowing in, now. This week we got more sorrel, kale, and lettuce, and a big head of escarole, along with several herbs. Mostly, now, we’re just enjoying the variety of flavors, after a winter of curly kale and cabbage – but I’m also looking at different ways to cook greens, and use what I have already cooked. Usually I just cook a whole bunch at once, and then use the leftovers later – I may keep them in the fridge for use within a day or two, or I may freeze them in small containers – we often use muffin tins – for “green muffins.”
A friend asked me about greens and eggs. Well, that’s a wonderful combination which can be cooked in many ways. Often, I chop up a small amount of leftover greens to put in my egg muffins, or in an omelet. But I can also make a meal of greens and poached eggs – cooked either separately or together.
I have this nice big head of escarole. This Italian green is quite versatile – the most tender leaves can be used in a salad, tougher ones are wonderful shredded and cooked in soup. (Try it in lentil soup!) The heads are large and quite dense – I don’t cook a whole head of escarole at once, I’d never fit it in the pan! I decided this time to make a lunch of the very slightly bitter escarole and eggs, with broth.
And garlic. It was funny – planning this, I thought “Oh, it’s too bad I don’t have any garlic, it is such a good combination with escarole!” and then remembered – the same CSA pickup included garlic scapes. We won’t see full heads of garlic for a while, but the plant starts growing by sending up these shoots, which have to be cut off so it will head. They have a wonderful mild garlic flavor, and can be either substituted for garlic or, even better, featured in many recipes. And this was a perfect use of them.
So. I broke off the outer leaves of the escarole, chopped and washed them, until I had roughly a quart of the chopped, washed leaves. Then, while they drained, I took two scapes and washed and chopped them. (Cut off the blossom, and the tough fibery ends… sometimes they are not woody at all, but sometimes… ) I put a good glug of olive oil in a heated pan, as I wanted some flavor from it in the greens, and sauteed the scapes until they softened.
Then I added the greens, and used tongs to toss them in the oil, so that all the greens were covered in the good garlic flavored olive oil. To that, I added half a cup of chicken broth (and of course, you can use vegetable broth, or even just water – but I had chicken broth and it’s a good flavor combination,) lowered the heat, and stirred the greens for a minute or two, while they cooked down.
Once the escarole had softened, but before it was fully cooked, I added a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and stirred them in. I pushed the escarole flat into the broth, and broke four eggs over it. Then I covered the pan, and cooked over low heat until the eggs were cooked. I prefer them cooked quite firm, with solid yolks, and got that in about 5 minutes (or, well, maybe another minute or so, when you count the time it took me to take the picture…) – if you prefer your eggs with soft yolks, you may want to start checking at 3-4 minutes.
Then I simply served it in soup plates. Rich had his with bread, to sop up the delicious liquid – I ate the broth with my spoon. I served hummus on the side, with crackers for me and more bread for him – and it was a lovely lunch.
Now of course, one advantage is that you don’t have to cook the greens fresh (though that was very good indeed…) For a quick lunch, for just myself, I would take leftover greens from the evening before, saute the scapes (now) or a little fresh garlic and hot pepper (later in the year,) add broth, and continue from there. Lunch in ten minutes! Or a quick dinner, a night you get home late… And this would be good with any greens – be sure to use the “pot likker” if you use simmered greens like collards… You could also serve it over rice, or add some white beans, or some sausage, to make a heartier meal – but really, this alone was very good.
Simmer greens in broth and cook your eggs nestled right in them for a quick and easy meal of greens and eggs.
5 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
- 1 quart of chopped, washed greens (or 1 pint, cooked) - escarole, kale, chard, collards, or whatever you prefer
- 2 scapes (or 1 clove garlic)
- 2 t olive oil
- 1/2 c broth
- 1/4 - 1/2 t red pepper flakes
- 4 eggs
- Prepare the greens. Wash and chop the scapes. (Or peel and mince garlic.)
- Heat oil in a large pan. Add scapes (or garlic) and saute until soft.
- Add the greens. Use tongs to toss them in the oil, covering the vegetables with the flavored oil.
- Add broth, and simmer until they start to soften and shrink. Add pepper flakes and stir them in.
- Carefully break the eggs into the pan on top of the greens. Lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer until the eggs are cooked to your taste. (3-5 minutes.)