Cafayate poached egg with garlic spinach

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Sometimes, when you just want something light, warm and comforting, a poached egg on toast really hits the spot. While traveling in the Salta region of Argentina, we spent one night in the town of Cafayate. The area is a semi-desert that seems almost inhospitable to growing anything, and yet it produces some mighty fine wines, predominantly from Malbec or Torrontes grapes. Staying at an estancia on the outskirts of the town, we weren’t up for the walk to the main square, followed by the search for a restaurant that always takes far longer than desired (and we had already had our fill of empanadas). When we saw that the small in-house dining menu offered up a poached egg on a bed of garlic spinach, we released a happy sigh…sometimes things just work out. Enjoyed in the quiet of our room, this dish proved to be just what we needed. Here is my take on the recipe, as inspired by the kitchen at Patios de Cafayate.

SERVES 2

3 handfuls baby spinach, rinsed, stems removed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 whole almonds (unsalted)
2 eggs
dash lemon juice or white vinegar
1 English muffin (or 2 slices of whole grain bread)
1/4 cup Reggiano cheese, coarsely shredded
salt and pepper to taste

In a deep-sided frying pan, heat water until it almost starts to boil. Add spinach. Blanch for 2 minutes and then drain in a colander. Press the spinach with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to remove excess water.

Empty the water from the frying pan and dry off. Add olive oil to pan and turn to medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes and then add the whole almonds. Add the drained spinach to the pan. Toss to coat and allow to cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat water in a small pot just until it starts to boil. Add a dash of lemon juice or white vinegar. Crack egg into a small bowl and gently slide into pot of just boiling water. Repeat with the second egg. Turn the heat off.  The eggs will only take 3-5 minutes to poach, depending on how runny you like your yolk.

Toast your English muffin or whole grain bread. Place one half (or slice) on each plate. Add grated cheese to the spinach and mix in. Spoon spinach and almonds on top of English muffin. Using a slotted spoon, remove poached eggs from water and gently place on top of spinach. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Enjoy (maybe while wearing your pyjamas)!

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