Panzanella Salad with Broccolini, Almonds, and Poached Eggs


I was reading a piece a while back in the New York Times opinion section about a former restaurant critic. He had a line about trendy restaurants that went something like “Yes, now everyone does hanger steaks with poached eggs, who cares? 10 years ago it was salmon and lentils” And to that article I say, I will totally be putting poached eggs on everything in 10 years. I love poached eggs. 

I think most people associate eggs with breakfast. Maybe it’s because my Mom’s back up dinner was always frittata, or maybe it’s because I used to run a small breakfast restaurant, so I was always thinking about what my specials would be the night before, but either way I eat eggs for dinner all the time.

Mostly I make a big salad and plop a poached egg on top. It’s a simple, protein filled, very cheap way to make a salad feel like dinner, and it’s a wonderful thing. This one is full of day old bread that is ripped apart and fried in olive oil. I’ve also added broccolini but what makes this really special are the slow cooked onions that are fried up with almonds and rosemary. It just makes it feel less like a throw together meal, like your not just making because all of those things happen to be in your fridge, and you had stale bread from last nights dinner and your too lazy to go out and buy some fish. Oh no. This is intentional. And it’s very very good. 

Panzanella Salad with Broccolini, Almonds and Poached Eggs

2 Free Range Organic Eggs

2 cups of Day old (or fresh!) baguette, cut into cubes or torn into pieces.

1 bunch Broccolini

1 Large yellow Onion, thinly sliced.

1/2 cup Whole Almonds, coarsely chopped.

1 sprig of Rosemary, finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

Olive oil, Salt and Pepper

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat warm up a big glug of olive oil. Add in the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are very soft, stirring often and not letting them brown.

Meanwhile get a deep pot of water on the stove on high heat and bring it up to a boil. 

Once the onions are starting to want to brown add in the rosemary and the almonds and let the almonds get nicely toasted and the rosemary make your whole house smell amazing. Now scoop all that goodness into a bowl and get the pan up to a medium heat.

Warm up another big glug of oil and put in broccolini. It will spit a bit when you put it in  don’t be alarmed! Just cook them until they turn bright great and the tips get a little bit browned and they are just a little tender to the bite if you eat one. Salt generously and squeeze a little lemon juice on top. Then put them on the bowl with the onions. 

Once again heat up some olive oil in the pan and add bread this time. Let the bread get nicely brown and salt it too. Once it’s crispy and delicious add it into the bowl and mix it all together and adjust the seasoning.

Now poach the eggs. Drop them in one by one and cook them until the whites are hard but the yolks are soft, about 3 minutes.

Fill up salad bowls with the panzanella and add one egg on each. And there is a simple cheap delicious meal in under 20 minutes!

Arugula Omelette with Bread Crumbs

Heres the thing of it; I only buy really good bread. Out of principle. Heres the other thing of it; good bread is only good for a day. Heres the other thing of it; there are only 2 people in my household so it’s hard to go through a whole baguette, or a full of sourdough loaf. (note, if Nutella is involved it is not hard to go through a whole baguette.)

So I’m always looking for excuses to use stale bread. Someone told me recently that in Italy breadcrumbs are poor mans cheese, which got me thinking. The friend who told me this had just made braised leeks and sprinkled breadcrumbs that she had sauteed in olive oil with garlic and rosemary and it was a killer dish. The sort of elegant dish Italian peasants have made for the last 300 years. So when I got home that night I busted out my food processor and made great use of the day old bread that always seems to be sitting in my bread box. And then I went to bed because it was late and I had already eaten dinner.

The next morning though I woke Jordan up with omelettes, just simple ham and arugula omelettes but I sprinkled breadcrumbs on the top and they were suddenly these elevated into something much more interesting. The crispness, the toasted flavour, the spike of rosemary, it was a glorious combination that, because I had already made the breadcrumbs, it was a no brainer painfully easy addition. Which is exactly what I want in my breakfasts.


At least 2 cups of stale bread diced into cubes

1 tsp chopped Rosemary

1 tbsp chopped Parsley

2 clove Garlic

Zest of 1 lemon

A glug of Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper


4 Eggs

1 tbsp chopped Parsley

a Handful of Arugula

50g Ham or Porketta, thinly sliced.

2 tbsp Grated Parm, Romano, or Fruitlano.

2 tsp Butter

Salt and Pepper

In a food processor pulse breadcrumbs until they are crushed but not powdery. You want to be able to bite into them still.

In a frying pan over medium-low heat warm up the olive oil.

Add in the breadcrumbs and stir until they start to get toasty.

Add in the garlic and rosemary and keep stirring until the garlic gets fragrant and the breadcrumbs have become a nice toasty brown.

Add in the salt the zest and the parsley and set aside.

Mix 2 eggs in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Add the salt, pepper and parsley and mix again.

In a small frying pan over medium heat (your life will be easier if this is a non stick pan. If you don’t use non stick- I don’t- just make sure the pan is sparkling clean) warm up a teaspoon of the butter.

Pour the eggs in and using a wooden spoon or a spatula mix the eggs as the cook until there are some scrambled pieces but they are all connected by the uncooked eggs.

Using your spatula spread the eggs out into a thin layer and let them firm up.

Once the top is beginning to set flip the omelette- use a rubber spatula to lift the edges and then with a quick flick of the wrist flip it.*

Let it cook for another 30 seconds. Sprinkle with the grated cheese, and then layer on the ham and arugula. Fold the omelette onto itself and slide it onto a plate.

Dust the top generously with the bread crumbs.

*If your not comfortable flipping the omelette you can just let it cook all the way on the one side and then fold the whole thing in half at the end. ALTHOUGH Julia Child recommends practising the flipping motion with a pan with a handful of dried beans, and who am I to argue with Julia Child.

Roman Crostini-nini

My “Aunt” Silvia is an endlessly chic Roman woman who fell in love with a brilliant Canadian man, my “Uncle” Frank. The best job for him was at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario and thats where they lived throughout my childhood.  Aunt Silvia was not like anyone else I knew.

She has an immaculate salt and pepper bob, wears nothing but black, and is looks endlessly chic smoking like a chimney, the way only French and Italian woman can.She had a beautiful husky voice, and a fiery temper.

When my Dad was doing his PhD Uncle Frank was his Professor and my Mom ended up becoming very good friends with his wife. I picture them in the late 70’s, both beautifully dressed, making wonderful meals and talking about literature.

We didn’t visit all that often, they lived about an hour or so away from us, and while I remember eating well when we went to visit, mostly I remember so many of the staple things my Mom used to make that were recipes from Aunt Silvia. Those really simple Italian meals that just take four or five ingredients but turn into something magical.

The one I remember most is Roman Crostini. It’s one of my all times favourite things, in fact, if you look in my grade 2 yearbook you’ll see that “crostini-nini” is listed as my favorite food. The best par of crostini (nini) is that it literally takes 5 minutes. It’s a perfect h’or deurve and it’s always a crowd pleaser. It’s super cheap and, once again, it literally takes 5 minutes.

It doesn’t take much, just good bread, good mozzarella, and fresh parsley. The secret ingredient is anchovies, which are so prevelent in Roman food and so absent in ours. I have served this to people who swear they hate anchovies, (after making sure there are no allergies) and they’ve loved it. The anchovies just disintegrate into the olive oil leaving this rich deep flavour without any fishiness. And then the cheese oozes in and the bread crusts up and the parsley just makes it all snap together. It’s amazing, and it takes 5 minutes to make.

Roman Crostini

1 good quality Baguette, it can be stale!

3 Anchovy Fillets, get the good ones, packed in olive oil.

1/4 cup Olive Oil

3-5 Balls of Boconccini, depending on the size

A Small Handful of Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Preheat the oven to 400F

Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Cut the baguette into slices, leaving the bread just barely attached at the base so that the loaf still looks like a loaf afterwards. If you cut through the bottom a couple times, don’t worry about it, just keep going.

Slice the boconccini into slices and then stick them in between the bread slices like so:

Cut up the anchovies in the smallest little strips and then cook them in butter or olive oil on medium low heat, squishing them with the back of a spoon periodically to help them fall apart.

Then take it off the heat, chop up that parsley and add that in too.

Then pour it on top of the bread. You can let it sit like this for a while too, if your making dinner, and then pop it in the oven just as friends are arriving. Or you can make it right away and eat it right away.

Then pop it in the oven until the cheese is oozing, the bread has browned, and your house smells amazing.

Throw it on a plate and eat promptly.