‘I went to Istanbul for the first time last year, and fell totally in love with the city. It’s such a heady mixture of the exotic and the modern. The food was equally captivating. Tzatziki was made with wild purslane, meze bars were full of slow-cooked vegetables, and everywhere you went, street-food vendors sold mouth-watering treats such as stuffed mussels, meatballs and grilled sweetcorn. Breakfasts were also feasts. As well as baskets of assorted freshly baked breads to eat with locally made cheeses and honeys, and olives and meats, dishes of baked eggs would also make an appearance, warm and enticing, familiar and yet totally different. This Moro recipe reminds me of those breakfasts’
Poached eggs with yoghurt, sage and chilli flakes
Extract from Sam and Sam Clark’s Moro: The Cookbook Published by Ebury Press
We wish we had a nostalgic tale of the time we tasted this dish on one of our trips to Turkey, but this is actually an adaptation of a recipe we found on the internet. Although it sounds very simple, the dish is made special by the sweet and crispy sage, caramelised butter and fiery chilli flakes.
1 small bunch fresh sage, leaves picked from the stalks
1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
350g homemade or Greekyoghurt, thinned with 2 tablespoons milk
1 dessertspoon vinegar (any)
4 organic or free-range eggs
1tsp Turkish chilli flakes or paprika
Sea salt and black pepper
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Place the butter in a small sauce-
pan and set over the lowest heat. As the butter melts, the whey will separate. Continue to heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the white bits turn golden brown. This gives the butter a wonderfully nutty, caramelised aroma, but be careful the bits don’t get too dark, as they will burn easily.
Then, transfer as much of the clear butter as possible (no bits) to a small saucepan. Heat until hot, add the sage leaves and fry quickly for a few seconds, preferably until crisp. Do not let the sage or butter burn. Remove from the heat, place the sage on kitchen paper, and return the butter to the caramelised bits. Set aside.
Put a large pan of water over a high heat. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, mix the garlic with the yoghurt and taste for seasoning. When you’re ready to eat and the water is boiling, turn the heat down low and add the vinegar and a pinch of salt. With a wooden spoon, stir the water rapidly in one direction. Break the eggs, one by one, into the water.
While the eggs are setting, lay out four plates and put a large dollop of garlicky yoghurt in the centre of each. Carefully spread it out, making a small well in the middle for the egg. When the eggs are cooked to your liking, drain them of water and lay each one in the middle. Season with salt and pepper.
Warm up the butter and spoon over the yoghurt and eggs. Finally, place the sage leaves and chilli flakes or paprika on top.