Brunch is one of my favorite meals. On the weekends, there is nothing nicer than a mellow morning where you get up at a leisurely pace and make something decadent for breakfast. It is especially nice when you can leisurely get the day started with your Emergency-Medicine-Intern-Boyfriend who usually works on the weekends. At least with Emergency Medicine, there are a fair number of shifts that start late. That means that brunch becomes the only meal we can really have together. His dinner will be spent in the hospital cafeteria (don’t worry, I generally don’t make him eat cafeteria food at least!) and mine will be spent catching up on some reading.
Yesterday, I announced I would make steak and eggs for breakfast. Roger’s face lit up. I then said, “Well, without the steak…” Roger’s response: sad face. I assured him he wouldn’t miss the meat.
When I make brunch, I like to include a hearty dose of veggies. I try to start the day out right, well on my way to 8-10 servings of fruits and veggies (more veggies than fruits). Traditional steak and eggs deviates from that desire so I decided to riff on the idea of steak and eggs but with veggies galore. Plus, in my opinion, no one needs 8-12 oz. of red meat to themselves, no matter how good it tastes.
So, what to substitute to make the meal amazing without the meat? Eggplant to the rescue.
Eggplant is such a delicious and meaty option and really goes well with eggs. To make it seem more steak-y, I made a dry rub that included smoke paprika and smoked chipotle powders along with Hawaiian sea salt and black pepper. I rubbed both sides of the eggplant steaks with garlic oil and then rubbed the spice mixture. The “steaks” were then grilled on medium-high heat using my Cuisinart Griddler. Meanwhile, I poached eggs using the magic microwave method. This was served alongside the most amazing roasted parsnips and carrots.
The eggplant flavor was smoky and salty with a bit of heat from the chipotle and pepper and some of the eggplant’s inherent sweetness deepened by the grilling process; the texture almost melted in your mouth. The fat in the runny yolk perfectly cut the salty and smoky spiciness of the dry rub. The sweetness from the roasted carrots and parsnips with their crunchy addition of parmesan complemented everything in a way that homefries or hash browns cannot achieve. Meat and potatoes, you have met your match!
Materials and Methods for Eggplant Steak and Eggs
Materials to make 2 servings
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. smoked paprika
- 1 t. smoked chipotle chile powder
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- 2 3/4″ slices of eggplant cut lengthwise from the center of the eggplant (use the edges in some other recipe, I used mine to make a stir-fry the night before)
- 1-2 T. garlic oil
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 t. white vinegar
- 4 eggs
- Preheat your grill pan of medium high heat or Cuisinart Griddler to medium high.
- Mix together the salt, paprika, chipotle powder and black pepper to make the dry rub.
- Rub slices of eggplant with garlic oil. Sprinkle/rub the spice mixture on both sides of the eggplant. Use your judgement as to the amount. Any extra can be saved in an air-tight container for another day.
- Grill the eggplant for 8-10 minutes per side (or 10 minutes in the closed Griddler). If you are feeling fancy, you can execute the quarter turn to the eggplant steak to make the crosshatch grillmarks.
- Meanwhile, poach the eggs.
- Heat water to boiling in a kettle.
- Fill a microwave safe mug halfway with the boiling water. The size of your mug will determine the amount of water but you then add vinegar in a ratio of 1 cup water to 1/2 t. of white vinegar (the vinegar is important for keeping the egg whites around the yolk).
- Crack your egg gently into the water.
- The amount of time you microwave varies from oven to oven. I find that 30 seconds works in an 8 oz. mug (so it has about 4 oz. of boiling water and 1/4 t. of vinegar). The trick is to stop the microwave after 15-20 seconds and gently flip the egg over before finishing out the thirty seconds. That assures that the white is fully cooked and no portion of the yolk is cooked to hard. Use your judgment. If thirty seconds isn’t long enough, try adding 10 more seconds. Beware, if the yolk gets too hot it can explode so only add time in small increments past the thirty seconds. If egg looks nearly done, but not quite there, leave it in the hot water for a little more time, perhaps 10-15 seconds.
- Remove the egg from the water as soon as it is cooked to the ideal temperature and drain on a towel. Do this for all 4 eggs.
- Serve the eggs over the grilled eggplant. This is amazing with a simply dressed green salad but I served it today with manchego roasted parsnips and carrots. Toast is the ideal medium for sopping up any missed yolk. Enjoy!