Smoked Salmon Breakfast Bowl with a 6-Minute Egg

It's only in the past few years that I've grown to love breakfast. Maybe it's the freelancer's life, which allows me to have more leisurely mornings. Or it could be that my taste buds have changed with age. Whatever it is, something's different. When I was younger, I barely tolerated breakfast. Hot oatmeal was all I could manage and that's what I ate most days. Everything else bored me (I know, hot oatmeal doesn't seem that interesting, but think of all the fun things you can put on top). I figured it'd be best to tame any hunger and just get to lunch, where I could sink my teeth into the giant sandwiches my dad packed for me.

The only breakfasts that excited me were ones served on the weekend. Most Sunday mornings, my father and I would head to the local Jewish deli to pick up bagels, cream cheese, and white fish salad. On special occasions, smoked salmon was thrown into the order. Home we'd go to schmear bagels and read the New York Times. Every time I visit my parents and my dad offers to get bagels, I try to play it cool. "Sure, I guess I could go for an Everything." But inside I'm doing a little happy dance. Bagels and lox and the New York Times... my favorite way to start the day.

Sorry, I got distracted by the thought of bagels. So, this bowl was inspired by my love of smoked salmon. I was thinking about all the breakfast bowls I've been seeing around the interwebs and how I rarely come across ones topped with cured fish. I used the opportunity to try my hand at my first six-minute egg, which came out perfectly (if I may say so). This is one of those meals that can hold you over from breakfast to dinner. Between the protein and the potatoes and rice and sautéed veggies, it'll leave you holding your belly.

SMOKED SALMON BREAKFAST BOWL WITH 6-MINUTE EGG

SERVINGS
Makes 2 bowls

INGREDIENTS
1 cup brown rice
5 baby red potatoes, quartered
8 oz. smoked salmon
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
2 eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Butter
Salt
Pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Bring rice, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest, with the lid still on, for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
2. Meanwhile preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with foil. Toss potatoes with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread across baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, tossing them half way through to ensure even cooking. 
3. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of butter. Swirl the pan to ensure the melted butter coats the bottom. Add sliced mushrooms in a single layer, trying not to crowd them. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook for 3 minutes, until browned and then given the a quick stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl. Return pan to heat and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add spinach leaves, lower heat to a simmer and cook until leaves have wilted. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. 
4. Add 4 cups of water to medium-sized, deep-sided saucepan. Bring water to a rolling boil and gently lower the eggs into the pot. Lower heat to a simmer and cook eggs for 6 minutes. Remove the eggs and rinse under cold water for a minute to shock them. Carefully crack and peel the eggs. Set aside.
5. Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and smoked paprika until throughly combined. Season with salt, to taste.
6. To assemble the dish, spoon 1 tablespoon of the sauce on the bottom of two bowls. Distribute 1/4 cup brown rice into each. Top each with mushrooms, spinach, roasted potatoes, and 4 oz. smoked salmon. Place the eggs in a bowl and, using a sharp knife, cut them in half, lengthwise. Garnish with chopped parsley, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. 

Artichoke, Spinach and Leek Tart with Roasted Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

About a month ago, as I was going through the freezer, trying to organize the containers of unlabeled soups and broths (bad Brian) and bags of frozen fruit and vegetables, that I came across a box of puff pastry. I took it out and looked at it curiously, "When had we purchased this? " I couldn't remember the last time I'd used puff pastry or phyllo or any kind of frozen crust (probably years) and, seeing that the box was opened, I tossed it. It was later that day, while flipping through Jennifer Farley's lovely cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, that I stumbled on a tart recipe that I just had to make.  Of course, it called for puff pastry. A new box was acquired... and this time it was not neglected. 

I loved Jennifer's idea of caramelizing the leeks and, as is, her recipe works beautifully. In order to provide my own spin, however, I simply sautéed the leeks and opted to include some roasted garlic and a layer of sun-dried tomato spread to the bottom of the tart.  This, paired with a light salad and a glass of wine, made for a fabulous dinner. For those meat-lovers out there, I think some bacon on top wouldn't hurt. Just an idea. But, really, this is a very satisfying vegetarian meal... no bacon required. 

ARTICHOKE, SPINACH AND LEEK TART WITH ROASTED GARLIC AND SUN-DRIED TOMATO SPREAD

SOURCE
Adapted from The Gourmet Kitchen by Jennifer Farley

SERVINGS
8-10 as an appetizer

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups chopped leeks, white and pale green parts only (approximately 1 1/2 to 2 leeks)
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke quarters, drained
1-2 heads roasted garlic (see recipe below)
3 tablespoons sun-dried tomato spread (see recipe below)
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
Kosher salt
4 to 5 cups fresh spinach leaves
Ground black pepper
1 sheet puff pastry, chilled (but no longer frozen)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks with a pinch of salt. Sweat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the artichokes to the pan, along with the thyme. Cook for another 3 minutes. 
3. Place the spinach in a Dutch oven or large skillet with a splash of water or olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and allow the spinach to wilt, stirring periodically, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. 
4. Roll out the chilled puff pastry until it is approximately 11 x 15 inches. Place the dough on the baking sheet. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the sun-dried tomato spread over the puff pastry so it is evenly coated, but leave a small border at the edge of the dough. Distribute the leeks, artichokes, spinach, roasted garlic evenly. Top with the cheese.
5. Bake the tart for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden and firm. Periodically check on the tart while it's cooking. If part of the dough around the edge inflates with an air bubble, gently prick with a fork to deflate.
6. Slice and serve. 

 

ROASTED GARLIC

INGREDIENTS
Whole head of garlic, skin removed
Olive oil

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the rack positioned in the middle. 
2. Using a knife, trim 1/4" off the top of the head of garlic, which will reveal the tips of the cloves. 3. Place heads of garlic (you can do 3-4 at a time), in the center of a large piece of aluminum foil. 4. Drizzle olive on top of exposed garlic cloves. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and transfer to oven. Bake for 55 minutes (checking after 40 minutes), or until it turns a golden brown color. 

 

SUN-DRIED TOMATO SPREAD

INGREDIENTS
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8.5 ounce jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Kosher salt
Olive oil

DIRECTIONS
1. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a skillet set over medium heat. Sauté onion, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, Stir in garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and tomato paste. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add vinegar, basil, thyme, black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pulse until ingredients are well-combined, but not completely blended. If necessary, season with additional salt.