Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Simple Autumn Lunch

When Sean's mom gave us an entire set of Staub cookware a couple of years ago, I remember wondering what on earth I would do with the tiniest of the lot, a little casserole that would only hold about a cup of anything. 

I almost gave it to Goodwill but didn't, thinking it might come in handy someday -- maybe for meals or tea parties for someone small and energetic? But now, almost exactly two years later, it's become one of my favorite kitchen items

Here's what changed: First, autumn happened. September and October are notoriously warm in the Bay Area but there's still been a shift. And all of a sudden I'm craving fewer salads and more warm and cozy foods. 

Second, we added an egg delivery to our weekly CSA and a healthy dozen arrives every Thursday afternoon. There's just one problem -- Sean doesn't like eggs. Or, to be more specific, he doesn't like "separate eggs." In a pinch, a frittata or strata will be tolerated, and there's no aversion at all to rich baked goods packed with yolks. He'll even gobble carbonara (weird, I know). But dinners that involve just "throwing an egg on it" don't fly. So, I've been eating a lot of eggs lately, and mostly for lunch.

A couple of weeks ago I came up with the totally-obvious-yet-still-brilliant idea of warming leftovers (farro, coconut rice, couscous, rice and beans, roasted pepper and tomato salad) in the tiny Staub and then cracking an egg over the top and setting the toaster oven to broil. 

The resulting egg is perfect. One crack with the tines of a fork and whatever is underneath is drowned in rich, runny, marigold colored yolk. Add a sprinkle of salt and a few minutes for the lot to cool -- warning, it does emerge dangerously hot -- and you've got lunch. It's simple, elegant, and oh so satisfying. 

My hunch is that these tiny Staubs (or Le Cruset) might be pretty easy to find thrifted or on sale, simply because people aren't sure quite what to do with them. So if you see one, add it to your collection. I think almost any leftover tastes better with a good egg cracked on top, and the presentation can't be beat. Needless to say, this makes a great dinner for one or two (how adorable would it be to have a matching set of these?!) and the cleanup is a dream. This is truly a one dish meal. 

One final note: My broil setting is auto timed for about 10 minutes but I find pulling it at 8 minutes is great if you like your eggs nice and runny, which I do.  

Bon Appetit!


dana said...

Gorgeous. It's amazing how pretty an egg yolk can be!

Tea said...

Yay, cozy fall food! Now we just need to get you some leaves.
I have little baking dishes I use in the same way. Such a fun presentation.
And also: COCONUT RICE. Always reminds me of Burma Superstar (sigh).

Sam said...

It took me a moment to realize that this wasn't a picture of a gorgeous oyster... Consider yourself lucky you don't have to share them :)

Anne Zimmerman said...

Love the Consider the Oyster reference Sam! ;)