I feel as though the construction work on our building will never end. Ever. Granted, it’s not just our building; it’s the entire community “compound” but, the new roof shingles have taken well over a year to replace. It has been an ongoing noise onslaught which has driven me to drink. This includes during today’s brunch (though, is it brunch without a drink?).
Smoked salmon is an honored pleasure in my family. This goes back to visits to NY to see my uncles or visiting my father and step-mother in DC, and my uncles providing the typical NY brunch with bagels and lox. I learned early on, even with my mother who likes to combine smoked salmon, lemons and shrimp, that it can be a very sad situation not having smoked salmon with breakfast on a Sunday.
Brunch has become a tradition for my husband and I at least one weekend a month. Typically, it involves what I refer to as “parmesan toast points” and coddled eggs. I received from my mother these porcelain patterned cups with lids on them and had no idea what they were. If she had told me, I didn’t remember. I kept them in a cabinet for almost a year thinking I could just use them to hold toothpicks and stuffed olives… One day, I looked at the underneath of one of them and saw “Royal Worcester”. I was curious about them most especially because they had belonged to my grandmother and I wanted to know what she had used them for. I didn’t dare ask my mother again for fear she wouldn’t be amused I hadn’t listened to her in the first place (flash back to my not listening to her in the first place).
There began our love of coddled eggs and, my obsession with expanding my grandmother’s dish collection. Further was my interest fueled when I read this particular pattern was discontinued the year I was born. Traditions are important to me, and using dishes that were beloved by members of my family (in this instance my Nana), helps keep memories of her alive. I enjoy seeing her bone china and my Papa’s paintings in my home.
For today’s brunch, I made smoked salmon avocado toast with coddled eggs. It took one baking sheet for your toaster oven or standard oven and a small pot to boil water.
You will need:
- Smoked salmon (please do not get the ones that read on the package “farm raised”. Never eat farm raised seafood.)
- Spinach leaves
- Avocado or pre-made guacamole if you prefer
- Salt and pepper
- Grated parmesan
- Olive oil
- Dried basil
- Dried dill (or fresh)
- Bread (we love the whole wheat honey bread)
- Butter or non-stick spray
Take your egg coddlers and wipe the insides with butter or spray with a non-stick cooking spray
I have both the standard one egg size and the king size (two eggs). For the standard pictured here, crack one egg into each coddler, top with salt, pepper, basil and some grated parmesan.
Start a pot to boil, closing the lids securely but still loose enough to remove later, and position next to the pot as you wait for it to boil so it’s ready quickly when it’s time to drop them in. Make sure the water will come to either halfway up the coddlers or to the start of the lids, not over.
Parmesan Toast Points
While you wait for the water to boil, take your bread and drizzle with olive oil, top with grated parmesan and basil (salt and pepper are not needed, and there’s enough salt in the cheese). Butter is a fine substitute if you don’t have olive oil. Don’t overdue it with the butter, just a small slice in two places on each slice of bread, no need to spread the butter.
Place in your oven or toaster till the darkness your family prefers and when done, let out to cool. At this time, the water should have started boiling. Start to gently drop each coddler in the water.
Your timer should be based on the level of hardness you want your yolk. For this meal, I knew I wanted the eggs cooked all the way so I could put them on the avocado toast. If you want to instead dunk bread into the coddlers, which is also delicious, you’re going to want a more soft boiled egg. I cooked these at 12 minutes on a rolling boil and left them sitting with their lids on in the other room on the plates. I used large eggs, not extra large or regular. I keep a note in my phone for how long I have cooked the eggs so I don’t forget, based on size of the coddler and the eggs, and firmness of the yolk.
While they boil, place your spinach leaves on your toast which have now cooled.
Rip off any little stems. Then, layer with your guacamole or avocado, and finally pieces of the smoked salmon. You’ll want to wait till the end to open the package and play with the layers of salmon as I have mentioned in a previous brunch post, there tends to be a meely type feel to your fingers initially, after working with the fish.
When done, top with your dill.
The timer on the eggs will have gone off by now. Take each one out carefully and place aside. I use a large serving fork as the tongs are perfect to slip into each ring.
Plate them leaving their lids on. You can serve them with small forks or spoons. Some people may not want to eat them with the toast and would prefer to eat them separately. There is no wrong way.
When you do remove the lids, do it carefully. You will see the tops puffed with the cheese if you chose a hard-boiled egg.
I added Prosecco splits to our meal, leaving coffee for last while we waited out the storm. Smoked salmon (wild caught) is a fantastic way to get your omegas. Spinach and eggs are both excellent sources of protein. The bread tastes so good with the parmesan and basil, and are your perfect source for fiber. And of course, the avocado is a healthy fat. Prosecco is a lighter in calorie brunch drink, and as a split I was able to keep from over-indulging.
In the end, I left open my lanai door listening to the storm while my husband took his obligatory Sunday nap. I relished the sound of the storm and not the construction for the first time in days.
Below you will see the table setting for this meal: Bone china including coddlers are from Royal Worcester. Rectangular tray is CB2. Napkin rings and napkins are from Pier 1. Crystal is Waterford. Silverware is Napoleon Bee. Tablecloth is from Bed, Bath and Beyond.