"I do so like green eggs and ham! Thank you! Thank you, Sam-I-Am."
Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss
In 1960, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) was set a challenge by his publisher: could he write a book using a vocabulary of only 50 words? Green Eggs and Ham, a surreal journey through boxes, with foxes, in planes and on trains, is the result. It's not quite my favourite Dr. Seuss (predictably, for someone as sentimental as me, that honour goes to Oh, the Places You'll Go!), but it's great fun. And it extols the virtue of trying everything once, even green eggs and ham.
I have to confess that the version of green eggs and ham below is not originally my idea. A café up the road from me used to do pesto eggs for breakfast (and they're definitely not the only ones). They were glorious; a weekend favourite. Scrambled eggs are essentially a weekend religion in both houses I grew up in, and the pesto takes that to another level. I've done copious testing with various pesto varieties, and I have to say that the recipe below is a winner. Feel free to substitute other herbs/nuts/cheese as you fancy though - I'm not precious.
Green Eggs and Ham
Large bunch of parsley
1 garlic clove
30g hard goat's cheese (grated)
1tsp coarse sea salt
50ml olive oil
4 large eggs
2 generous slices sourdough toast
2 large slice ham (thick or thin cut - whichever you prefer)
Scrape of butter
Salt and pepper
Mortar and pestle
Knife and chopping board (and a little bit of patience)
Jar for storing pesto
Non-stick frying pan
Toaster or griddle pan
1. First, make the pesto. This will keep for weeks in the fridge, and will be brilliant on pasta, in salad dressings and, of course, with eggs. In a dry pan, toast the almonds for a few minutes, ensuring they don't catch and burn. Allow them to cool for a couple of minutes.
2. Blitz/bash/chop up the almonds, along with the garlic. Then add the herbs, and blitz/bash/chop again. If you're working with a knife, put the ingredients into a mixing bowl at this stage. Add the cheese and salt and then dribble in the oil, stirring/blitzing all the time. You may not need it all; just go until you have a loose, droppable texture. Spoon the pesto into the jar for storage.
3. When you're ready to eat your green eggs and ham, pop your bread in the toaster or on a hot griddle. The cardinal sin with scrambled eggs is to not have the toast ready in time (your eggs will overcook as they sit waiting in the pan), so do get it ready before you start to cook your eggs. When the toast is ready, and the butter (for buttering) and ham are in position, start your eggs.
4. Crack the eggs into the bowl and break the yolks with a fork. Whisk them a little, but don't go over the top; you'll be moving them about in the pan. Heat the butter over a medium heat until foaming, then reduce the heat to low. Tip in the eggs, and start to move them around with the spatula. Keep them moving until you have some solid clumps of eggs still surrounded by uncooked liquid. Spoon in a tablespoon (or two) of pesto, and continue to stir.
5. Spoon the eggs over the ham and toast. Season with salt and pepper and eat immediately.
Leftover pesto on homemade pasta. Glorious.
ps. My talented sister, who is now based in Seattle, has started her own blog this week. It's an exploration of all the things I loved when I first arrived in the Northern Hemisphere - the discovery of seasonal eating and beautiful market produce at different points through the year. Check it out - she's brilliant.