meatless monday: “birdless nest” with crispy rice, braised collards with a garlic soy vinegar sauce, shiitake mushrooms, cashews, fried egg

So much flavor.

So much flavor.

So, I was in Athens on Saturday. I checked instagram and saw that Hugh was in town at Five and Ten. We didn’t get reservations and didn’t get to go, but my mind went back to a delicious brunch I enjoyed at ESS on the day after my birthday. His “Farm Egg” with a fried egg, crispy rice, greens, and pork belly. It was delicious and I thought I would pay homage to one of my favorite people to internet stalk.

Of course, I couldn’t do pork belly to flavor and add extra protein to the dish so I had to make some moves of my own. I took the the flavors of Asia with fantastic results.

I started this meal with cooking the rice, which this time was part brown basmati and part long grain white with a little quinoa. Cooking the normal way first (boiling water, adding the rice, bringing back to boil, simmering until the water is gone (about 15 minutes)) and then frying it in canola oil to make it crispy. After boiling, remove the rice from the pan and stir to allow it cool. Heat a pan with enough oil to cover the rice over medium heat. Add the rice in spoonfuls and even out. DO NOT STIR. Allow to fry until the popping slows. Remove from the oil and drain. It’s that easy!

While the rice is boiling, its time to cook your collards. You’ll need:

3 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
5 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup water
Red Pepper Flake
Salt and Pepper

Clean the collards and pull until the pieces are about bite sized. Heat a pan with the olive oil and add the shallot and garlic until both have color. Add the collards and allow to saute until they wilt. Add the liquids and spices and stir. Allow the liquids to boil and cover for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At the 10 minute mark, your rice should be ready to rest and you can then get your mushrooms ready. Cut the shiitakes into strips and add directly into the collards and stir. Keep the braise going for a couple of minutes and then add 1/4 cup of cashews to the pan and stir. Keep simmering for five minutes.

While the rice is frying and the collards, shrooms, and cashews are simmering, fry your eggs. In a non-stick pan, melt 1 tbsp butter PER EGG over medium heat. Once the butter begins to bubble slowly crack the egg into the pan and let it set. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow to slowly cook through, covering shortly to lightly cook the top.

Assemble the dish with rice on the bottom, collard mix, and then the pretty egg.

Feel free to make the collards and mushrooms however you like, but the soy and vinegar really work well. Shiitakes are your best bet for that route because they will compliment the dish and complement the soy. Add meat if you must, but it doesn’t need it!

Happy Monday!


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