It may come as a surprise to you to learn that I love poached eggs. I have mentioned once or twice also my great fondness for avocado. In a past life, I believed the only way to eat these two things together was to go to a high class restaurant and pass a note under the table outlining one’s desire to participate in the closely guarded secret that is hard white, runny yolk.
Then one day I was crying because I was too poor to go to breakfast, and my brother said to me, “I can teach you to poach an egg!” so I punched him in the face for being a stinking liar. But after he stopped bleeding, he pulled out his saucepan and an egg and I decided to hear him out.
This recipe is my favourite breakfast of all, and one that I often have when I’m out judging other people’s breakfasts. There is no need to judge mine, it was a perfect ten (until my cat ate the ham from my plate and my dog tried to eat the cat).
Smashed avocado and fetta with a balsamic dressing, poached eggs and ham
You will need these things:
- A really, really good bread. I can’t stress this enough. No white square loaves. So much of this dish hinges on the bread. I chose a ciabatta from my favourite boulangerie, Mattisse.
- 2 eggs. Again, choose good ones. Don’t buy cage eggs, they’re bad for chickens but they also taste like a beaver pissed in your eye.
- Half a slightly underripe avocado
- About 50g of Danish fetta
- A handful of shaved or sliced ham off the bone (substitute for bacon if you’re a normal person)
- Good quality olive oil
- Even better quality balsamic vinegar
- Poor to moderate quality white vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Then you do this:
Before you’re really awesome at this, like I am, you should use a very small saucepan. When you are confident in your poaching abilities, you can move on to a regular sized saucepan, but never before.
Add about one part white vinegar to 15 parts hot water, and pop over medium heat.
While you’re waiting for your water to heat up, you can make your smashed avocado. Despite the name, you won’t actually throw it on the floor or against a wall, but cut it with a knife. It’s easier if you scoop out the flesh before you cut, Hannibal Lecter. Dice it into pieces about 2cm x 2cm, then put it in a bowl.
Crumble the fetta over the top of the avocado. Add about one teaspoon of olive oil and half a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Mix it all together with a spoon, try not to eat all of it right now and set aside any remnants.
Making the eggs
YOU GUYS THIS IS SO EXCITING. OKAY. OKAY. When the water is hot but not boiling, get a big spoon and make a cyclone in the saucepan. Spin it around and around and if it splashes on you and burns you, all the better. Spin spin spin spin. Put some psychosis into it, man!
When everything is spinning, use the other hand to expertly crack the egg without dropping the spoon. Plop it in the middle of your vinegar water whirlpool of doom. The vinegar will make the sides of your egg curl toward the middle, and then you can just leave it for a few minutes. Not too hot. If it’s too hot, crazy shit will happen and your mother will probably come over.
While it cooks, make some toast, wash your rocket and get your ham out of the packet. Don’t leave the ham on the bench, your animals will eat it and you’ll have to go back to the supermarket.
You’ll have to use your brain a bit to figure out when it’s ready. The white should be firm but if you poke the yolk, you should burn your finger and it should squish a little bit. It should also be that dark orange colour. If it turns yellow, it’s overcooked and you should chuck it in the bin and never speak to me again.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the saucepan, then dry the eggs on some paper towel before you put them on the plate.
Pop some of your amazing avocado concoction on top of the toast before you add your eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste, a little oil and balsamic mixed together as a dressing and a few pretty chive stalks for texture.
Cut open your egg and spend a few moments being amazed by the incredible feat you have just achieved.
When you are finished, pretend you are in a restaurant and let someone else clean up.