Tuesday 1 March 2016
Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music... Ad Infinitum
According to one of my favourite cooks,Yotam Ottolenghi, "there’s something about eggs as the essence of life, the start of it all, that inextricably links them to that first spark of romance". That is why I immediately thought of using one of his recipes for my regular food and music section tonight. The melodies you will find below have that rootsy, earthy feeling. This is a let-go-back-to-the-start sort of post.
Braised eggs with leek and za’atar
This is delicious with crusty white bread for dipping. To braise the eggs (the method used in all today’s recipes), cover the pan after breaking them in; they will cook relatively quickly, in five minutes or so. The downside is that the yolks in the finished dish will be obscured by a thin layer of opaque, cooked white. If the sight of bright, yellow-orange yolks is important to you, cook the eggs uncovered, and for longer, on the lowest possible heat, while at the same time taking care that the sauce doesn’t catch. Serves six.
30g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
4 leeks, trimmed and sliced 0.5cm thick
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
1 small preserved lemon, seeds discarded, skin and flesh finely chopped
300ml vegetable stock
200g baby spinach leaves
90g feta, broken into roughly 2cm pieces
1 tbsp za’atar
In a large saute pan for which you have a lid, melt the butter with a tablespoon of oil on a medium-high heat. Once the butter starts to foam, add the leeks, a half-teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Fry for three minutes, stirring often, until the leeks are soft, then add the cumin, lemon and vegetable stock, and boil for four or five minutes, until most of the stock has evaporated. Fold in the spinach, cook for a minute until wilted, then turn the heat to medium.
Make six indentations in the mixture (a large spoon is the best tool for this), then break an egg into each space. Sprinkle the eggs with a generous pinch of salt, dot the feta around and about, then cover the pan and leave to simmer for four to five minutes, until the egg whites are set and the yolks still runny.
Mix the za’atar with the remaining oil, brush gently over the eggs so as not to break the yolks, then take to the table at once, to serve straight from the pan.
The first clip I bring you tonight is by one of Senegal's finest musicians: Baaba Maal and his unmistakable, sweet-toned voice. Splendid.
My second song tonight combines ancient Persian music and poetry and it is performed in the trance-like cadence of Mamak Khadem. Spellbinding.
My last track on this food- and music-themed post comes courtesy of Show of Hands, a duo-cum-trio (with the occasional collaboration of double-bassist Miranda Sykes). This is a lovely, folksy, foot-tapping number that will hopefully warm your heart in the same way our recipe has done tonight. Enjoy
Next Post: "Saturday Evenings: Stay In, Sit Up and Switch On", to be published on Saturday 5th March at 6pm (GMT)