Tuesday, April 8, 2008

an ode to the egg

So you may have noticed that I'm pretty much obsessed with eggs - maybe just a wee bit more than cheese, or bacon, or avocados, ok, so I love those too - who can pick a favourite child, really?

I did, in fact, initially consider naming this blog in honour of the incredible, edible egg, ("The Banana and the Egg" was one idea - very nerdy, I know, after the boy and I - but then I realized that I'd be the banana, no fun!) so great is my love for this most versatile and often overlooked ingredient.

I decided on "This Little Piggy" simply because that's the nickname my dad gave me when I was barely knee high. Apparently even then I was quite the curious kid when it came to mealtime, asking for pho with extra rare shaved beef as a sunday treat and freaking my mom out with my requests for oysters and steak tartare for my 8th birthday dinner.

It was my dad who sold me on the simple things, walking before running, as it were. In his mind, an egg was not just an egg, it was a means for me to learn how to begin at the beginning, understanding the small before attempting the big. And, ah so, I was his little grasshopper, his little piggy, eating my way through the lessons.

To this day, I still love everything about the egg. And about keeping it simple!

Simple Arugula Salad with Soft Poached Egg

a single, lovely egg, freerange and organic if you can swing it
2 small handfuls baby arugula, rinsed, dried off and kept crisp in the fridge
nice wedge of Parmesan cheese, for shaving (the more the merrier, in this case)

a good quality extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice, or white wine vinegar
flaky sea salt and pepper

First off, get a small pot of water on to poach your egg. Your vessel of choice should ideally be just big, low, and wide enough for you to slide in said egg easily - like slipping into a hot bath - and comfortably retrieve it with the slotted spoon you have standing by.

Season your simmering water with just a dash of vinegar and/or lemon juice; this helps keep the egg white together while it poaches, rather that floating prettily away like so much egg drop soup.

Gently slide your egg into the barely simmering water. Wait a moment to let things set a touch; give the liquid a slight stir if the egg needs a bit of coaxing to hold its shape.

Lovely baby arugula, ready to be dressed.

As it poaches away, assemble the rest of the salad. In your bowl of choice, toss together your arugula with a light drizzle of olive oil and a very small squeeze of lemon juice (or a little drop of vinegar, if that's what you're using). Season your leaves with a pinch of salt and pepper; toss lightly with your fingertips until everthing is just barely slicked.

As the saying goes, a great salad should be dressed like a beautiful woman; adequately, but lightly.

Use a vegetable peeler or grater to shave your parm over the dressed greens.


By now, your egg should be done. (The whites will be, well, white, but still quite tender, encasing your lovely soft-set yolk. Yum.) Remove with your handy slotted spoon, blot gently to get rid of any excess liquid; set in your awaiting nest of arugula and parmesan shavings.

Another great thing; the warmth of the egg ever so slightly wilts the arugula...delicious!

Drizzle over a touch more of that olive oil. A pinch of crunchy salt and a turn of pepper should do the trick as well.

Again, one of my favourite things, ever. The poking of the yolk; so satisfying!

A great, easy way to get your greens too...eat up, eat up, it's good for you! Enjoy....


  1. I love poached eggs over salads and just about anything...amen to this post!

  2. My favorite salads are the most simple ones! Your photos are yummy, I can almost taste the yolk ;)

  3. I like the idea of a warm egg yolk running all over a salad!

  4. hillary: Yes! Anytime is poached egg time, hooray!

    marichelle: Isn't it funny that sometimes it's harder to keep things simple? (I'm still learning to restrain myself, eating-wise that is.)

    kevin: Like instant sauce...soo yummy! :)

    Thanks for checking out this little site and for your comments!!

  5. Yum. I just had a salad of arugula, roasted purple asparagus and poached egg for lunch, but this photo is making me want another serving!

  6. gavin: You're very welcome! :)

    undercover cook: That sounds like a delicious salad...yum!