With spring comes thoughts of planting a garden, eating outdoors, planning summer menus, and lighter and healthier eating. This past week I made a trip to the new co-op in Reno to see what kind of early spring produce is growing locally. The Great Basin Community Food Co-op just moved from a 600sqft house, to a 7000sqft building in downtown Reno. The new location is beautiful and offers a ton of local produce and products. It can be difficult at times to find locally grown produce in Reno since the growing season is short and the ground is so hard (at 4500 feet, Reno is considered high desert). The co-op though did not disappoint, and was brimming with early spring crops.
Surprisingly, there are so many fruits and veggies that are in season right now. At the co-op I found asparagus, greens, avocados, spring onions, green garlic, chives, green beans, and basil. Are you seeing a trend here? Everything is green. This is the height of the season for early tender greens; the cooler growing climate is perfect for these types of crops. I was drawn to the red russian kale and fuerte avocados, and knew I could use them in conjunction some how.
I found the perfect opportunity while making breakfast this past week. After making english muffins for the first time last weekend, I knew I had to make some sort of eggs Benedict. I wanted something lighter than traditional Benedict though, so a breakfast sandwich with kale, avocado, a poached egg, and parmigiano reggiano sounded perfect. And it was; the sandwich was healthy, green, local, and delicious. The kale flavor was mild and a perfect balance for the rich egg yolk and avocado. The cheese added a nice salty bite without overpowering any of the other flavors. If this sandwich is a hint of the spring harvest to come, then I am very much looking forward to the season.
Spring Green Breakfast Sandwich
4 Homemade English Muffins – toasted
1 bunch Russian Red Kale (or any other tender variety)
1 clove Garlic – chopped
1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano – broken into shards
1 TBSP Butter
4 Eggs – large
1 TBSP White Vinegar
2 Avocados – sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Cut out the thick stalk of each kale leaf and then rough chop the kale to bite-size pieces. Heat a medium sized skillet on the stove and add the olive oil and chopped garlic. Saute for two minutes and then add the kale. Cook for about five minutes or until the kale is wilted and soft. If the pan seems too dry, add a little water to help the kale steam (some water should have already been released from the kale with the heat). Season the kale with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- To poach the eggs, heat water in a medium sized pot with the vinegar. Crack one egg into a small bowl. When the water is about to simmer, use a spoon to swirl the water and then drop the egg in the middle of the “whirlpool.” Let the egg cook for about 3-4 minutes (or longer if you don’t want it as runny). Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the other eggs. To reheat the eggs before serving, just gently place each one back into the hot water (not simmering, or boiling).
- Build the sandwiches. Butter the toasted english muffins. Top each half with 1/2 an avocado. Squeeze any excess liquid from the kale, and place a handful on top of the avocado. Sprinkle with the cheese shards, and then top with the poached egg. Finish the sandwich with the top half of the english muffin, and serve. If you like, cut the sandwich in half, and this will break the yolk of the poached egg.