A tragedy happened yesterday, our oven died. Well, I think it died a while ago, but since I haven’t used it in almost a month I didn’t notice until yesterday. I wanted to make a lasagne (one of my favorite ways to use my large amounts of chard from the garden), but found out that it didn’t work. So I had ingredients that I needed to use somehow, and so I threw something together tonight from what I had in the garden and the fridge.
I’ve written about everything in the recipe, I think, so I will do the educational section on olive oil. It is so fundamental to cooking that I never thought to research it. It is one of the most ancient foods still in use–scientists have found stone processing tools in Israel that date to 5000BC. Olive oil was not just for cooking or eating. It was used as a ritual ingredient in all kinds of religious ceremonies, and on the skin for health.
Though humans in the Mediterranean have been making it for millenia, it is not an easy product to make. First off, each tree must mature for years before it will produce fruit of a sufficient quality. And it takes 10 lbs of olives to make just 4 cups of oil! The olives are a soft fruit, and so must be harvested carefully to get a good quality oil. They are then taken to the processing plant where the oils are extracted from the fruits. Olive fruits themselves are not editable until processed somehow. It’s amazing that humans figured it out so long ago.
Italian Sausage and Chard Saute with Eggs and Toast
- 1/2 lb Italian sausage, your choice whether it’s link variety or not (we used the loose variety).
- 1 C carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 2 large bunches of swiss chard, spinach, or beet greens.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced.
- A tablespoon or so of mixed herbs. I used parsley, oregano, marjoram, and a little sage, that’s what looked good out of the garden. Roughly chop these too.
- 4 Eggs
- Good bread
- Mozzarella or other pizza cheese.
- Prepare the veggies. The chard needs to be washed, and then remove the thick stem up into the leaf, if it’s thick. If you get the leaves from the grocery store you probably won’t need to go up very high. You can compost the stems, or if you like, you can slice them up and cook them with the onions in that step below. Pile them up on top of each other, slice them lengthwise. The set the halves on top of each other and cut in 2 inch wide slices horizontally. Slice the carrots and chop the onions.
- In a large skillet cook the sausage. If you use loose sausage remove it with a slotted spoon, leave the oil in the pan.
- Put the carrots and onions in the oil, you’ll probably have to use some olive oil as well. Saute them until the onions are turning clear, and the carrots are still a little crunchy, but somewhat cooked. That is why you need to slice them thinly, otherwise whey won’t cook. At the end put in the garlic and chopped fresh herbs and saute until fragrant.
- Once they are done, toss in the chard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a lid to let the chard wilt. It will only take a few minutes. Stir it all in together with the sausage. Flatten it out, and then make several small indentations for the eggs. Turn down the heat to low. Crack the eggs into the indention and salt and pepper on top. Cover with a lid and let it steam. You are poaching the eggs. Once they are cooked through, you are done.
- Toast the bread. I loved the sourdough I had to go with it, but you can use any bead you like.
- Put 2 slices of bread on each plate. Use a spatula to lift out a section of mixture with the eggs on top. Put on top of the bread. Sprinkle with cheese and let it melt.