Friday, July 13, 2007

Breakfast of champignons

Sometimes when you wake up, you know tea and toast just isn't going to cut it. Such was the case this morning, when I awoke with a dull headache owing to last night's festivities with my husband's relatives, who are in town from London. (More on that to come.)

So for whatever reason, after a losing battle with the treadmill at the gym (I kept envisioning those cartoons in which a character slows down on the treadmill and then gets sucked through the conveyer and flattened like a pancake. Not to worry, I emerged in 3-dimensional form. Rather more than I'd like, I'm afraid.) I was just winded and starving and overcome with a craving for sauteed mushrooms. Hence this morning's breakfast creation: Poached eggs on toast with shiitake and truffle ragout, alongside arugula tossed in blood orange olive oil. Do I need to tell you how good it was? I think not. I'll just include my prep notes and pictures so you can see for yourself.

Poached Eggs on Toast with Shiitake Ragout and Blood Orange Arugula Salad

4 eggs (if you're cooking for yourself and a honey)
2 slices rustic bread (I used Grace Italian country bread)
8 shiitake shrooms (or more)
3 tbspn truffle oil
handful arugula (extra nice if it's fresh from the garden)
blood orange olive oil (we used one from Asti, 2003)
coarse sea salt
coarse black pepper

Fill a saucepan with water to poach your eggs and set it on a high flame. Cut two slices of bread on the diagonal so they make nice long slabs and then pop them in the toaster. While you're waiting for the water to boil, slice up your shiitakes in small strips, discarding any rough stems. In a small skillet, sauté the shrooms in a little olive oil and then finish them with the truffle oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked pepper. Set aside. By now, your water's boiling and you're ready to poach. This is the time when I holler for the husband to take over because he's an impeccable poacher. If you're the best poacher in your house, carry on. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I'm not going to walk through the poaching process as it's delicate and there are hotly-contested issues regarding best practices (vinegar v. no vinegar, etc). There are plenty of handy how-tos for this online, so I'll leave you to your own devices here. The last thing to do is rinse and dry your arugula, then toss it in the blood orange olice oil with a little sea salt and pepper. To plate, spread the toast with mushroom ragout, top with 2 poached eggs and clip chives on top. Serve with the arugula salad on the side. The fruity citrus of the salad is refreshing alongside the earthiness of the mushrooms. You won't be disappointed.

As usual, I photographed the results to entice you to try my creation, but for reasons you'll soon see, I had to include two shots. The first is here for the close-up.

The second for The Unbearable Cuteness of [a small] Being.

And lastly, I have to circle back to the aforementioned evening with the Londoners, they being Auntie Anna, the stern but loving family matriarch; Cousin George, the tough-talking lager lout who's actually just a big softie that loves puppies and his mum; George's bird, Donna who loves a pint and a fag and their precocious daughter Louise, who I repeatedly engage in zoo-related conversation just to hear her say zeh-bra in a lovely little lilt.

Anyway we were all on the deck making merry and catching up when Auntie Anna hauled out a suitcase with gifties "for the boys" and flopped it open. Now let's be clear that "the boys" are my husband (38), his twin (you do the math) and their brother (36). I am not telling a word of a lie when I say that that super-sized suitcase was chock full of candy and weird British sweeties that "the boys" go crazy for. The contents included soda bread, Bakewell tarts, Bird's custard, Jelly Babies, Wine Gums, and more, which, with the exception of the soda bread, I find to be vile foodstuffs, all. But, it's food from the homeland and the boys dove in with a rarely-seen glee. My boy alone netted this load, which, I can assure you, will be gone by nightfall.

The only thing that even interests me remotely here is the Turkish Delight. And that's only because I was such a Narnia-freak as a kid that I still conjure Romantic visions of the white witch luring the kids to her sleigh with the stuff. Once I tasted it, however, I remember thinking "they went with the witch for *that* stuff? Those kids got suckered, big time." So I'll leave you with visions of sugary sweets dancing in your head and sign off with a cheerio, pip-pip, ta ta and all the rest.


Anonymous alison said...

all good stuff from home - i'm envious of your husband's loot!

3:18 PM  

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