This dish is equally welcome at the dinner table as it is accompanied by a mimosa for bunch. Cook the eggs whichever way you like but we highly recommend something with a runny yolk to dress the vegetables and crispy bacon. The breadcrumb and rosemary crumb looks incredibly simple but the wonderful textural contrast they provide against the softness of the egg is a match made in heaven.
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Serves 2-3 people
INGREDIENTS Half a medium head of cabbage 4 eggs 150g of slab bacon 1 medium onion 1 stalk of green garlic 1 sprig of rosemary 1 tablespoon of panko breadcrumbs EQUIPMENT Chopping board and knife Medium sized pot, preferably with matching lid Rubber spatula or wooden spoon Baking tray lined with baking paper Mixing bowl Non-stick frying pan with lid OR Medium sized pot
1. Begin by chopping the bacon into slabs, roughly 1cm thick. Lay them on top of each other and cut again into 1cm thick batons known as lardons. Cut the cabbage through the core, and by cutting at an angle, remove the core. Chop the leaves into 1cm thick strips. Peel the onion and cut into 1cm slices running from the root end to the top of the onion. Thinly slice the green garlic and reserve.
2. Bring an oven up to 180C. In a small bowl or container combine the panko with a few drops of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat the panko and place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place into the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. In the meantime, pick the leaves off the rosemary and finely chop. Remove from the oven and season the breadcrumbs with the chopped rosemary and some freshly ground black pepper. Allow to come to room temperature and store in an airtight container.
3. Place a medium sized pot over medium heat and add the lardons of bacon to the cold pan. Add a tiny small splash of oil and allow the fat from the bacon to begin rendering. Allow the lardons to colour well and then turn them over to colour well on all sides.
4. Remove the lardons from the pan and reserve some of the bacon fat if there is a lot in a separate container.
5.Add the sliced onions to the pan and cook over medium low heat with a pinch of salt. Scrape off any lovely browned bits from the bottom of the pan, deglazing with a tablespoon of water if necessary, to loosen up the fond.
Fond is a culinary term referring to the crispy browned bits that get stuck to the bottom of the pan. These browned bits are packed with flavour and will add colour and complexity to whatever you are cooking. To remove them from the bottom of the pan and incorporate into what you’re cooking, we deglaze by adding some form of liquid. This liquid can take the form of wine, water, stock or even vegetables. When you add vegetables to the pan, they will release their own juices which will help you scrape off that tasty fond!
6. Once the onions are a rich brown colour, remove them from the pan and add 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat to the pan.
7. Turn the heat up to high and allow the bacon fat to get hot. Add the cabbage to the pan and season with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat the cabbage in the fat and put a lid on the pot. Do not touch the pot for 1-2 minutes. Carefully remove the lid from the pot and stir the cabbage, some browning and even light charring is encouraged.
Getting some mild blackening on brassicas such as cabbage, broccoli or brussels sprouts gives them a wonderful flavour, don’t be afraid to give these vegetables a little bit of char!
8. Repeat this process until you have some browning happening throughout half of the cabbage, reducing the heat if things are charring too quickly. Add the sliced green garlic to the pot. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes or until the garlic has softened. Add the caramelised onions and lardons to the pot and stir to combine. Allow to cook for 2 minutes. put the lid back onto the pot and turn off the heat.
9. The cabbage mixture is ready to go now all we need is to top with our eggs. Our preference here would either be sunny side up or poached whichever you prefer. For both, have your eggs cracked into bowls in advance. For poached eggs it will be easier if each egg gets its own little bowl.
10. For sunny side up place a non-stick frying pan over medium heat until the pan is hot, roughly 1-2 minutes depending on your stove. Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan and swirl until the base of the pan is coated with foamy butter. Add the cracked eggs to the pan and sprinkle with salt. Cover the pan with a fitting lid and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes or until the white is just cooked through and the yolk is still nice and runny. Getting the timing right will require getting to know your stove and cookware but you can always peek under the lid and check the eggs. If your eggs are cooking too quickly you can turn the heat off while they are covered, and they will gently steam till they are cooked.
11. For poached eggs fill a medium sized pot ¾ full of water. Place over high heat and bring up to a boil. Once at a boil add 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of white wine or malt vinegar. Reduce to the gentlest of simmers and give the water a stir. While the water is swirling in a gentle vortex add your eggs, one at a time to the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the whites are just set and the yolk is nice and runny. Remove the eggs from the pot using a slotted spoon, a spider or a sieve and give the centre of the egg a light poke to check that the eggs are cooked to your liking, you want them to still feel soft for a nice runny yolk. Dab onto some paper towel to remove excess water.
12. Once your eggs are almost cooked warm up your cabbage by turning the heat back on and adjusting the seasoning with salt, pepper and some wholegrain mustard would be a welcome addition if you wanted some more kick and acidity. Plate your garnish and top with the eggs. To finish sprinkle liberal amounts of the rosemary panko mixture.