Sunday November 4
Today we got The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld out of the library, and we both fell in love with it: Holt because it gives a whole new take on some classic recipes, me because it integrates the herbs I'm already growing into an entire range of dishes. Take this eggs benedict: its sauce uses the giant bush of fall sorrel that has been calling out to us from the garden; and using sorrel means that you don't have to thicken the sauce with egg yolk and then thin it with lemon to get both citrusy flavor and richness.
1 Tablespoon butter
a half of a small shallot, minced (just over a Tablespoon)
4 ounces sorrel, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
1/8 cup heavy cream
fresh ground white pepper
2 English muffins, split; we used Holt's fresh-baked buns (click for a picture of Holt's cute buns).
4 large or extra-large eggs
4 generous slices smoked salmon or nova lox (enough to cover the four half-buns), at room temperature
snipped chives, or snipped chive blossoms if there are any.
For sauce, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until softened, less than a minute. Add half the sorrel, stir until it's wilted, then add the rest of the sorrel and continue to cook until it melts into a purée, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cream, taste, and season as you like with salt and pepper. Leave it on a low simmer, stirring occasionally.
Get the muffins or crumpets toasted in the toaster oven; leave them there in the warm.
Do the egg-poaching however you usually do it. We have little metal egg-poachers that we set in a covered pan of gently-boiling water until the whites are set and the yolks still soft but warm.
When the eggs are almost ready, arrange two of the toasted bun-halves on each of two warmed plates. Smear each bun with a little of the sauce, and top that with a slice of salmon to cover. Gingerly lift the eggs out of their poacher, and put one on each bun-half. Top those with the rest of warm sorrel sauce, and sprinkle each with chives or chive blossoms, for that touch of class that will make you feel more elegant as you grab your plate, snarf it all down, and maybe even lick the plate afterward.