Wednesday, December 12, 2012

So Long To Sprouts

Robin and I have just arrived in Hilo, Hawai‘i, where we’ll be for the next six months. The Hawaiian Islands are home to a host of wondrous fruits and vegetables, but the winter veggies we get on the West Coast—broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and th like—are all imported from the Mainland and quite expensive here.

In anticipation of this forced change in eating habits, I prepared a dinner last week before we left, with roasted Brussels sprouts as the main star. Our friend Brian had kindly shared with us some eggs from his hens Brittany and Aretha—whose yolks are a deep orange-yellow and have a rich flavor to match—so I decided to top the sprouts with a couple of his eggs, in the style of a salade Lyonnaise.

Moreover, I also had on hand some prosciutto made by my friend Bob’s son from his own hogs, which could play the part of the traditional bacon in the salad.

a sow at TLC Ranch eyes two hens
who are not Brittany and Aretha

I gathered all my ingredients and got started:

The sprouts were large, so I halved or quartered them—as required to have a uniform size—and them tossed them in olive oil and salt and pepper:

I then roasted them at 375°F until nicely browned:

Leaving the sprouts in the warm oven, I now set about poaching the eggs, two at a time. The trick to poaching eggs is to crack them into a small bowl, and pour them gently into boiling water. I give the water a quick stir with a wooden spoon first, to get a swirl going, and then pour the eggs into the center of the vortex. This helps keep them together for the crucial few seconds it takes for the heat to cook the eggs enough for them to take their shape. I don’t bother with adding vinegar, as I’ve never noticed it to make a difference.

Turn the water down and watch the eggs; they should only take a couple of minutes to cook. You can carefully gather one up in a slotted spoon and raise it out of the simmering water to see if the white is cooked enough. If not, lower it back down for a little longer.

Spoon the Brussels sprouts onto a plate and top with the poached eggs, and with slivered prosciutto. For extra pizzazz you can drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar on top:

As an additional dish for this meal, I served some braised pork. I had a bottle of “cooking wine” (i.e., it had been left out too long and was starting to turn to vinegar) in the fridge, and I braised two pork shoulder steaks in the whole bottle of wine. I did it on the range-top in a covered cast-iron skillet, adding more wine as it cooked down. To finish the dish, I added at the very end about of half cup of some blueberry-apricot jam made by my friend Julie.

I tell you what—it sure pays to have good friends who share the bounty of their labor with you. Thank you Brian, Bob and Bobby Jr., and Julie!


  1. I'll tell YOU what -- that looks delicious.

  2. guess what's officially on the menu in my kitchen for tomorrow's dinnerdinner

  3. I fear Brussels sprouts, but this looks fantastic!