Before I leave the countryside I always have one final hurrah with my mum’s veg patch. This involves me attempting to use all the sad veggies that get no attention whilst I’m away and cram my body with enough goodness so I am prepared for the big ‘ol smoke of London. Today it is not London I am preparing for, but the South of France.
This afternoon I am booked to fly out to Narbonne, where I will be catering for the strapping lads of the Toulon Rugby team, for the better part of a month. Since I suspect there will be no shortage of meat I feel it only appropriate to make my last meal at home vegetarian friendly.
I’ve gotten eggy with it… With an abundance of Eggs and Swiss Chard in the house (a veg that goes completely un-used when I’m not home to cook up a storm) I got experimental. Poached Egg and Swiss Chard on toast, which I was planning ended up like this… a light, bright Poached Egg in broth, brought to life with the toasted Pine Nuts and the Garlic Oil. If you don’t have Garlic Oil, or the time to make it, use Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a little fresh Lemon juice, for extra freshness. I use a metal steamer in a saucepan to steam the Chard, and then use the cooking water to flavour the broth, if you don’t have a steamer, you can boil the Chard in the pan without. For anyone that is unsure how to make a Poached Egg, don’t be daunted, its simpler then you think, just check out Jamie’s method. The best trick is to use very fresh Eggs…
- 2 Eggs
- 1 large saucepan of water
- 500ml Vegetable Stock (or Water and 2 heaped tsp Bouillon Vegetable Stock)
- 50g Swiss Chard
- 2 tbs Pine Nuts
- Garlic Oil/Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to serve)
Add the Pine Nuts to a small frying pan, over a high heat and toast for 3-5 minutes, or until they start to darken and golden in colour. Set aside.
Add the Garlic to the pan, with a dash of olive oil and fry until golden. Set Aside with the pine nuts.
Heat a large pan with water. Bring it to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Add a dash of vinegar (a couple of tablespoons, don’t worry what kind.) Crack in both eggs and cook for 2-4 minutes, or until softly poached. Add the 500ml of veg stock to a saucepan and bring to the boil, add the swiss chard and reduce to a simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Once the green leaves have wilted down and the stems have softened, divide the chard and stock between two bowls. Carefully remove the eggs from the pan and place one in each bowl, on top of the chard.
Scatter over the toasted pine nuts and garlic, drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and finish with a squeeze of lemon. Serve with hunks of crusty,buttered sourdough or wholemeal bread.