When I was a kid, poached eggs on toast was a favorite breakfast that I only got when Dad took over cooking duties because Mom was sick or had slept unusually late. His entire morning culinary repertoire consisted of either poached eggs or French toast, and when I got to have either it was a special treat – both for the rarity of the food itself and because Dad himself had made it.
These days, I’m cutting carbs and not eating much toast (French or otherwise), so when I got a random hankering for a poached egg recently, I rooted around the kitchen and tried to figure out what to have with it. After giving a loaf of bread the evil eye and similarly rejecting the idea of leftover pasta, I finally settled on a bunch of mixed greens, which I sautéed in a skillet with a little olive oil. I plopped a poached egg on top, added a little pre-made hollandaise from Trader Joes, and thus a new breakfast obsession was born.
As it turns out, greens are quite excellent with eggs; the soft yolks make a creamy sauce and give the greens a lovely texture and flavor. It’s also a great way to get more green superfoods into your diet and have a protein-focused breakfast without carbs — something the Paleo folks apparently have known for a long time. (A Google search for “greens for breakfast” turns up thousands of Paleo posts and recipes. Who knew? I thought I invented this combination all by myself!)
Since that first breakfast discovery with the greens and poached egg, I have tried numerous variations on the theme: Sometimes I make greens with a fried egg and top it with a little Louisiana hot sauce; sometimes it’s greens, a fried egg and a little bacon, ham or sausage; sometimes it’s greens, caramelized onion, poached egg and feta; and sometimes it’s greens and scrambled eggs with a corn tortilla and Greek yogurt.
If you think about it for a minute, eating a “dinner” food like greens for breakfast doesn’t seem all that odd given the growing popularity of eating “breakfast” foods throughout the day — a trend so big that offering all-day breakfast recently helped McDonalds reverse its worst sales slump in more than a decade. Which definitely underscores the point that it isn’t when you eat certain foods that matters so much as what you eat.
With our typical American breakfast foods being so high in carbs, sugar and fat (think cereals, pancakes, pastries, etc), I’m finding myself more and more often choosing to eat non-breakfast items to break my overnight fast. Having an egg on greens for breakfast (usually a mix of beet greens, collards, kale and spinach) has become one of my favorite ways to start the day.
I’ll be visiting my folks for Father’s Day weekend, so maybe I’ll get up early and make Dad some poached eggs on greens and see what he thinks. I think he’ll like them, but he’ll still probably want toast on the side…