There is something about this whole business of embracing the first day of a new year with a calculated aggressiveness that just doesn’t sit well with me. Not that I’m against doing everything you can to set yourself up for a happy and healthy new year – that, I am totally behind.
But my beef is more with the commonly agreed upon notion that you can stuff yourself silly in the dwindling moments of what will soon to be “last year” (who’s fate is supposedly already sealed) with the expectation that the moment the clock strikes twelve and those last drops of champagne wash down the last morsels of caviar blini, you’ve got to hit that proverbial New Year’s ground running.
With the glittery ball down and your glittery dress off, come January one, there will be no more excess. No more holiday hams, no more Christmas puddings. Your lily’s been gilded (and gilded then again), and now it’s time to shape up and snap out of it; time to get thyself to the closest gym, and punish thyself for those last couple of months of exuberance. There are resolutions (which are predictably impossible to adhere to), jam-packed spin classes, and spartan salads on the agenda – a stark difference to what the yuletide docket held a mere seven days before.
While all of that is good and well, I’d rather electric slide into the New Year than punish myself by cannon-balling into the chilly depths of the deep end. I’m feeling more than ready to pull back a bit (and, let’s face it, skinny jeans just look nicer on someone who looks and feels what their jeans are advertising), but I’ve got no plans to look at it as punishment or repentance. Bring on some whole grain salads, some interesting and fresh vegetarian dinners, and some great make-ahead lunches that I can count on keeping my paws off of any cinnamon-pecan schnecken that happen to weasel their way under my nose (the travesties that occur when one works at a bakery!).
This dish is a perfect example: a mish-mash of nutty and delicious wild mushrooms sauteed up in bit of butter, woven together with crisp-tender and slightly peppery tatsoi, and topped off with an egg that is poached just until it’s center is barely molten. A few shavings of wispy parmesan on top if you please (or not….but if not, you’re a better person than I), and it makes a wonderful light lunch or easy supper.
Being that it’s all of 4 degrees here in Colorado right now, I’m craving things that are warm and comforting, and unfortunately a crisp and cold salad just won’t cut it. This salad-like arrangement is a nice compromise, and the protein in the egg on top helps to keep you feeling full much after you’ve eaten the last bite. If you’ve never had tatsoi, you’re in for a treat; it has a very mild mustard flavor and a texture that is similar to bok choy. It’s perfectly suited for being lightly sauteed, and the flavor, though not overpowering, stands up well to the meaty mushrooms. If you can’t find tatsoi, chard or spinach would work nicely too – but I’d suggest keeping in eye out for it, especially at farmer’s markets.
Yes – there is butter in this recipe….and a touch of olive oil. But really both are used so sparingly that I can hardly pretend to feel bad about it. 2013 so far is looking right on schedule, in my book.
(Now if I can finally just remember to floss every night….)
Wild Mushroom and Tatsoi with a Poached Egg
I am a firm believer that mushrooms taste best when cooked with a bit of butter, but you can go all oil if you are so inclined. Also, I noted that tarragon was optional, only because it won’t make or break this dish; I personally like the fresh taste of it here, but don’t let not having any prevent you from making this – it will still be really great.
If you have never poached an egg before….don’t be scared! I recommend bringing a pot of water (4-5 inches deep) to just simmering, not boiling (that is, just when you start tiny little bubbles clinging to the bottom and side of the pan, with some of them rising to the surface gently), and pouring in a tablespoon or so of white vinegar. Crack your eggs into a cup (1 per cup), and gently slide each egg into the water (you can also make a little whirlpool in the water with a wooden spoon before sliding the eggs in, which will encourage the whites to wrap around the egg). Then, let the egg simmer for 6-8 minutes, depending on how much you like your yolk cooked. It takes a little bit of practice, but don’t fret if it isn’t perfect – eggs are cheap, and they will still taste good no matter what they look like!
Finally, halve any mushrooms that are large; you’ll want them to all be roughly the same size.
1 lb (16 oz) wild mushrooms (I used a mix of skiitake, oyster, cremini cinnamon cap, and lion’s mane)
1 lb (16 oz) tatsoi (or spinach or chard), thick stems removed & torn into large pieces
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more if necessary
1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 poached eggs (see process above)
In a large skillet, melt the butter and oil over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add in the mixed mushrooms and a pinch of salt, and stir well. Let the mushrooms saute, tossing them occasionally, until they are caramelized and tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the tatsoi leaves, minced garlic, and another drizzle of olive oil (if needed), and toss to combine. Cook the vegetables, tossing every thirty seconds or so, until the tatsoi is just wilted and tender. Stir in another pinch of kosher salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Taste a leaf, and adjust your seasoning if necessary.
Stir in the minced tarragon, and divide the mixture between two bowls. Top each bowl with a poached egg and half of the Parmesan cheese. Enjoy immediately.