A Grains and Greens Dish
September 25, 2016
You just got home and you're starving. Or you just got home and the whole family is starving. You need a quick and nourishing meal. What to do? What to do?
This is where you reap the benefits of keeping a bowl of cooked grains in the refrigerator at all times.* It's also good if you have followed my suggestions for prepping and freezing those dark leafy greens.**
Famished, you put a skillet on the stove over medium heat and film the bottom with a little oil. Amounts and skillet size in this case depend completely on how many you are cooking for. Add the cooked grains to the skillet, about a cup per person, then cover the pan and let the grains warm a bit.
In the meantime, slice or chop your frozen greens. (If we weren't in such a hurry here you could have let them thaw on the counter for half an hour, which would make the cutting easier.) Strew the greens evenly over the top of the grains, salt and pepper them to taste, then put a lid on the pan for two or three minutes.
When the greens have softened and heated through, use the back of a spoon to hollow out a little nest in the greens and break an egg into it. Add a tablespoon of water down the side of the pan to create steam, then clap a lid on the pan immediately. Lower the heat to medium-low.
Cool your heels for three or four minutes (put the egg carton back in the fridge, wipe off the counter, stick your plate into a low oven to warm, make a quick little salad--do whatever you want in those minutes). Remove the lid and check on your egg. If the white is set and opaque and the yolk has been beautifully filmed over, then ring the dinner bell, 'cause it's time to eat. If the white is not set, then put the lid back on and check it at 30-second intervals (hum a little tune while you wait).
Salt and pepper the egg the way you like it, then use a spatula to remove the grains, greens, and egg from the pan all in one scoop. Put any extra grains or greens on the side, divvying them up fairly if you're cooking this for more than one.
*Detailed instructions for this are in my book, Fast & Fearless Cooking for the Genius, but here's the short version: Using a ratio of 2:1 (water to grain), cook up a combination of grains in a covered pan. You can use spelt, Kamut, or wheat berries, wild rice, brown rice, barley, buckwheat (kasha), millet, quinoa, steel-cut oats, or any other grain. Most of the whole grains and berries take about 40 minutes to cook. For a simple GF mixture, I use millet and quinoa and cook them for about 20 minutes. When most of the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat and insert a folded tea towel between the pan and the lid to keep condensation from falling back into the cooked grains as they cool. When the grains have cooled transfer them to a bowl, cover, and keep in the refrigerator for a week.
**Again, these instructions are detailed in Fast & Fearless Cooking for the Genius. You can use kale, collards, spinach, chard, or any of the dark green & leafies. The egg dish we're discussing here works best with partially cooked greens, which the frozen greens are. Spinach, however, cooks very quickly, so you can simply strew some fresh spinach leaves over the top of the grains, cover the pan, and let them cook for a minute or two, until wilted. Then make a nest and put an egg into it as described above.