Hi friends! I just got back from a glorious / exhausting conference in Palma de Mallorca. I did schlep my computer along so that I could do a little work (and watch Breaking Bad on Netflix – addicted!) but didn’t anticipate either how packed our days would be or how patchy the wireless would be. But they were, and it was, and really when in Palma one should be focusing on sipping cava by the pool and making new friends rather than working away on the computer. And so it was.
Spain isn’t the most vegetarian friendly country, and conferences aren’t the most nutrition friendly events, so I find myself glad to be home an in control of my food again. It’s definitely a dietary damage control situation in my life right now.
Although I am ever an advocate of including nourishing whole grains (intact grains!) in one’s diet, I ate So. Much. White. Bread. in Spain that I’m spending a few days focusing on produce and protein. This kind of eating stabilizes the blood sugar, is nutrient rich, has lots of heart healthy fibre, and since we don’t store protein as energy, can be a bit of an antidote for excess calorie consumption.
Our farmer’s market season has sadly come to an end, but I did manage to stockpile a few different kinds of squash while it was still going. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what kind of squash this is. It may be kabocha or autumn cup squash, as the flesh is sweet but quite dry and crumbly. You can pretty much use any kind of squash you want for this egg-in-a-hole, the basic criteria is that the squash has a hole in the middle and that it’s a variety you enjoy eating.
I’ve been in the habit lately of roasting up my farmer’s market veg pretty much as soon as I get it home so that it’s in the fridge in a readily eatable state. We’ve been doing this with squash and beets, which are both great for throwing into salads or packed lunches. If you have the squash roasted in advance, like I did, this egg-in-a-squash-hole comes together in a flash. I think this makes a pretty dish, however unconventional, and would be a great brunch item during these colder months. Make it happen!
Egg in a (Squash) Hole Recipe:
You’ve got some options with egg cookery in this dish. I cooked mine sunny side up in a frying pan then finished them under the broiler, because wet whites gross me out. I think that doing an over easy flip would have been ok, but it would really depend on the thickness of your squash. Try to slice them on about 1.5cm / 0.5 inch thick so that the egg is more or less the same height. Or if your squash has a smaller hole, slice on the thicker side.
Per Egg in a Squash Hole:
1 round slice of winter squash
If you need to roast your squash, do like this: preheat your oven to 200 C / 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the squash into rounds about 1.5cm thick and line them up on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with olive oil, then flip them over and brush the other side as well. Pop the squash into the oven for approximately 15 – 20 minutes. They should be slightly golden and fork tender when they’re done.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Lightly oil the pan and set as many squash rounds as desired / fits into the pan. Crack and egg into a small bowl and carefully slide it into the center of the squash hole.
For sunny side up, cook until the whites are set, then slide the eggs and squash out of the pan and onto a plate.
For over easy, carefully flip the sunny side egg over for a few seconds, then slide out of the pan and onto a plate.
Alternately, cook the egg sunny side up, and finish with a minute or so under a hot broiler to set the top.
Serve as is, or with toast.
Eggs are an amazing source of high quality protein, vitamin B12, choline (important for your brain), carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Eggs are satiating; a study found that those eating a low fat diet which included 2 eggs a day for breakfast lost nearly *twice* as much weight as those eating a bagel breakfast with the same calories and mass, with no increase in blood cholesterol levels.
Winter squash are rich in carotenoids, a precursor to vitamin A, and are a good source of vitamin C. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber. The seeds, when consumed in moderation, are a great source of healthy oils including linoleic acid (polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid) and oleic acid (the same monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil).