As my last post was quite a long winded recipe, I’m keeping this one quick and easy.
Purple sprouting broccoli with bacon, gruyere and a poached egg
After a recent visit to Brighton to see my parents, my Dad sent Katie and I packing with a bag filled with allotment greens to play with. This recipe took advantage of the purple sprouting broccoli Dad gave us, and is perfect for putting together on a work night. Purple spouting broccoli is in season at the moment, so if you haven’t grown any, you should be able to get hold of it easily enough. If you can’t get hold of any broccoli (you will - it’s everywhere), asparagus will work just as well.
Poached eggs are a great finishing touch to loads of dishes, and it works brilliantly here with the yolk running through the broccoli and ending up soaking the in bread at the base. Any bacon is fine, although use a sweet cured variety if you can - Waitrose do a particularly good one with maple syrup.
Serves 2 for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner.
2 large handfuls purple sprouting broccoli, trimmed
4 rashers sweet cured bacon, sliced into small strips
80g gruyere cheese, finely grated
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, one finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 thick slices of seeded bread
knob of butter plus a little for the bread
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC and bring a saucepan of salted water and the white wine vinegar to the boil.
Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. Add the shallot, the chopped garlic and thyme and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the bacon.
When the bacon starts to crisp, add the broccoli and fry gently until it has softened slightly, adding more butter if necessary and seasoning - I like the finished broccoli to have quite a lot of crunch still, fresh and full of flavour, but if you prefer it softer, you can boil or steam it for a couple of minutes first.
While the broccoli is frying, put the slices of bread in the toaster. When it pops up, rub the whole garlic clove all over one side and spread with butter. Place the toast on a baking tray.
When the broccoli is cooked, heap a large pile onto each slice of toast, and sprinkle liberally with the gruyere and cracked black pepper before placing the baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven.
All that needs to be cooked now are the poached eggs. Holding the eggs as close to the water as possible, gently crack each egg into the boiling water, and immediately turn the heat down a little to a simmer - this will prevent the eggs from breaking up. Check these after two minutes and they should be cooked.
Assembly is simple, take the broccoli heaped toast out of the oven, which will have gratinated as the eggs were cooking, and top with a poached egg. Season each egg with salt and pepper and it’s done! Serve with a simple green salad for a fresh yet comforting meal.