This is one of my favorite go-to lunch recipes for weekdays, and it also makes a great weekend brunch. The secret is to have a good quality bread — I prefer a semi-whole grain sourdough — and a vegetable that will get creamy and spreadable. I am a huge fan of Romanesco broccoli, with its vibrant flavor and gorgeous, intricate shape, but you can substitute normal broccoli or cauliflower, too. If you don’t love blue cheese, or don’t have any in your fridge, any pungent cheese, like goat cheese, will do the trick. A strong cheese beautifully contrasts with the sweet Romanesco.
My preference is to not boil the vegetables, in order to not lose flavor and the good stuff in the water. You can cook the whole Romanesco this way. Store the rest and toss it later with some pasta. Enjoy with Colonarra Lyricus Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi, an Italian white with just a hint of honey.
2 large slices of sourdough bread
1 head Romanesco broccoli
2 tablespoons crumbled Blue cheese
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt and more to taste
1 cup of water
1 anchovy filet (optional)
1 small chili (optional)
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Clean the Romanesco by rinsing it well and removing any hard leaves. The tender small leaves are edible. Break the florets of Romanesco apart from the core. There’s not much need for chopping. Once you have separated all the florets, chop the core, and any florets that are much larger than the rest.
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves by crushing them with the blade of a knife, parallel to your chopping board. No need to slice the garlic.
Add the garlic to the pan on a medium high heat, as well as the chili and the anchovy fillet if you’re using them. After a minute, when the garlic is fragrant and anchovy fillet has melted (help along with a wooden spoon), add the Romanesco florets and chopped core to the pan. Stir around, add half of the salt, and cook for a minute or two. Add half of the water, put the lid on and lower the heat to medium low. Cook for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, bring a small pot of water to boil. When the water boils, turn down the heat to a simmer, then using a spoon, very gently put one egg at a time in the pot. Immediately set a timer to 6 minutes. Toast your slices of bread and spread the blue cheese on each slice.
Check the broccoli, and if it’s soft enough, crush most of it with the back of the wooden spoon to get a cream. Add the rest of the salt if needed.
Right before the eggs are ready, prepare a bowl under running cold water (or some ice), and as soon as the time is up, gently put the eggs under cold running water for at least two minutes. Spoon the broccoli cream on the top of the bread where you have spread the cheese. Gently peel the egg and cut it into halves right on the bread. Sprinkle with salt and chopped parsley.