Monday, May 25, 2009
Fried Eggs with Pesto and Roasted Vegetables: A simple, light lunch
It was stressing me out much more than necessary for a long weekend that, for many, is primarily about rest, recuperation and the return of summer whites.
The facts are these. Yesterday's schedule presented me with a bit of a food dilemma. I had to eat breakfast before I left my parent's house in Orange County for church at 9:45 am, and I wouldn't be able to get back to my apartment in LA with groceries until 1:15 pm at the earliest. At that time, it would be approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes before the wine/food pairing event I would be attending at Riva restaurant in Santa Monica. I knew I would be ravenous since my body needs sustenance every 3 1/2 - 4 hours and is used to eating a filling lunch at that time. I also knew that I would need to throw something together quickly, and finally, given the impending feast, I knew I would not want to overload my belly with anything too filling like a sandwich or an Elaine-from-Seinfeld "Big Salad."
As such, my lunch needed to adhere to the following requirements:
1. Hearty enough to halt my hunger pains for no longer than 2 1/2 - 3 hours
2. Fast, easy, simple to make so as not to cut into any more of my digestion time
And because I am semi-neurotic (read: crazy) when it comes to the composition of my diet:
3. Healthy, containing either fruits/veggies since my dinner would most likely be devoid of both
4. Light on carbohydrates since there would be pizza and other carbolicious treats to come and balance is important to a girl who wants to still fit into the Anthropologie dress she really should not have purchased the day before (even if it is exceedingly adorable and brings out the shades of blue in her eyes in a most pleasing way)
My self-imposed requirements created considerable pressure for what should have been a simple meal, and I spent a substantial amount of time on Saturday night before coming up with the solution to my eating dilemma: the incredible edible egg served with lots of vegetables.
For this dish, I decided to do my spin on the poached eggs over fresh market vegetables that my friend Ashley ordered at Huckleberry when she came out to visit me a month ago. I selected asparagus, green beans and a vine-ripened tomato from the produce section at Whole Foods, accidentally purchased a 1/2 carton of $5.99 eggs (this is what happens when grocery shopping is done at frantic, lightening speed) and on my way out, grabbed a container of basil to make a quickie version of pesto for an added punch of flavor.
The dish went together incredibly quickly -- while my green veggies roasted in the oven, I prepared my pesto, chopped my tomato and toasted some bread crumbs to sprinkle over the top. And even though my French roommate was appalled that I fried my eggs a little too far past the runny yolk stage, the final result was not only healthy and veggie-friendly, but delicious as well. More importantly, however, it cured my hunger pains precisely up until the moment when I took my first bite of arancini at the restaurant last night. In the words of Goldilocks from Goldilocks and the Three Bears , my lunch was "juuuuust right."
The rightness of my sanity on the other hand, is still up for debate.
Fried Eggs w/ Pesto and Roasted Vegetables
Based on similar dish at Huckleberry in Santa Monica
Serves 1 individual who wants to be full, but not too full
2 eggs (hopefully eggs that do not cost $1 each)
7 spears asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
15 green beans, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 vine ripened tomato, diced into chunks
Toasted bread crumbs (optional)
Salt, pepper to taste
1 tablespoon basil, very finely chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil (I used basil-infused olive oil because I'm crazy like that)
1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
Salt, pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss asparagus and green beans with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, prepare pesto. Chop basil by hand and then mix with other ingredients, or combine everything in a food processor. I did it by hand to minimize the amount of dishes with fine results.
Just before veggies are done, toss the tomato into the pan and fry eggs over medium in large skillet. If desired the eggs can also be poached. When everything is ready, plate the veggies and top with the eggs. Spoon pesto over the eggs and sprinkle the entire dish with toasted bread crumbs.