Cooking In The Vortex~Poached Eggs With Kale And Bacon

by formerchef on May 21, 2012

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Cooking in the vortex.

That phrase could have multiple meanings, both literally and figuratively.

Figuratively, it could stand for so much; cooking while the world spins around you, cooking at the center of the storm, cooking amid chaos. We all have our own types of chaos in our lives. One person’s version of chaos, could be another’s good day. I try to remember this when I have one of those self-pitying, woe-is-my-life moments. For the most part, one of my worst days, is not nearly as bad as another person’s in country where the average family lives on $2 a day, in places where basic human rights are violated or even right here at home. I have my health, my family, my job and a roof over my head and when I remind myself of this, it puts it in perspective right quick. I don’t have to worry where my next meal is coming from, if I have to choose medicine over food, or if, as a woman, I’m allowed to speak my mind, wear what I want in public, drive a car or vote.

Literally, cooking in a vortex refers to the manner in which the eggs for this dish are poached. Somehow, in all my time in the kitchen, this method was unknown to me (as evidenced in my post on the decadent Crispy Poached Egg from a couple of years ago). However, it was recently brought to my attention by a chef I work with who assured me that this is the way to get perfectly formed, compact, poached eggs. Then, a few weeks later, I saw this video post at about poaching eggs and I figured it was a sign that I was supposed to try it out for myself. It’s never too late to learn something new.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m now in love with kale, especially when cooked this way which leaves it bright and fresh, but also tender and creamy. The addition of the bacon and egg is just a bonus, the icing on the cake, if you will permit the analogy. It’s a pretty healthy dish too even with the bacon and the butter because they’re really used in minimal amounts.

Poached Eggs With Kale and Bacon

Serves 2

5 oz cleaned and destemmed kale, cut into 2″ pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

2 slices of bacon, cut into lardons

2 eggs
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
smoked paprika

Fill a deep pot with water leaving at least 3 inches from the top and bring to a simmer. Add the white wine vinegar.

Cut the bacon into lardons (1/4″ strips) and cook until crisp. Drain and reserve the bacon.*

Heat a large saute pan (I use a wok). Add the kale and it in the oil. Add half of the water and toss. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the water and cook until the water has evaporated.

Clear a space in the bottom of the pan and add the butter and garlic. Saute one minute and then stir into the cooked kale. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in the cooked bacon. Cover to keep warm.

Crack the eggs individually into a small bowl. Stir the water in the pot, creating a vortex in the center. Drop the egg quickly into the center of the pot. It should spin around, but the most of white of the egg should stay concentrated together. Start a kitchen timer and cook for 4 minutes. When done, remove the egg with a slotted spoon and cook the second egg in the same way. If you are cooking for a crowd, you can poach the eggs in advance, cool them in the refrigerator, and then dip them in simmering water for 20-30 seconds to re-heat. I actually did this with the first egg so that we’d both be eating hot food.

Place the kale with bacon as a base for the egg on a plate, put the egg on top and sprinkle the egg with a pinch of smoked paprika.

*Note, you can cook the kale in the bacon fat which would add an additional layer of porky flavor goodness, but I’m trying to eat somewhat healthy, so I didn’t.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Do you ever find yourself in the vortex? What do you do to get out?

1 Myra May 21, 2012 at 8:33 am

Good timing! I was just about to poach an egg for breakfast. Vortex idea, very cool! (And I’m in love with that plate – gorgeous!)

2 formerchef May 21, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Thanks Myra!

3 angela@spinachtiger May 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I cook my poached eggs similar to this, but I found this method. Keep the lid on the eggs and cook for three minutes. I use the vinegar, but I also found I have to spray the bottom of the pan with pam or something like that. I think we end up in the same place. At any rate, I love poached eggs and kale so this is a happy dish for me. Yes, I fret too and then I try to get perspective on my life. (not always easy though).

4 formerchef May 21, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Angela- Thanks for sharing your method. I’ve never had the eggs stick to the bottom of the pan before. Maybe you need deeper water? And yes, perspective is not always easy. 😉

5 Cut `n Clean Greens May 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm

We did not know about the vortex method either! However, we are sold on the egg and kale for breakfast idea! How simple, nutritious and perfectly easy. We’re going to feature this on our Facebook page and link here so people can see how you did it, and your lovely photography. If you wish, come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on greens like kale, chard, beet, mustard, turnip, collard, spinach, escarole, dandelion and other super healthy green leafies.

–Your friendly farmers at Cut `n Clean Greens

6 formerchef May 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Thanks! I do love my greens (if you look, I have lots of recipes using them). I will check out your page.

7 Christopher H May 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm

mmmmmmmmm. Sounds Yummy! Those eggs are particularly beautiful. Where do you get them? Inquiring minds want to know. LOL

8 formerchef May 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Chris, you’re right! I fully intended to mention the fantastic eggs from!

9 foreman May 22, 2012 at 12:36 am

Eggs are healthy! I eat a lot of this when working out!I can’t wait to try this new recipe.

10 Sharon Miro May 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

Can you come and cook this for me fro breakfast? Wow, it sure looks good.

11 John May 23, 2012 at 11:19 am

I’ve found that the vortex works well in a 10-inch fry pan, too. I think it’s a matter of having a sufficient volume of water so that the rotation doesn’t slow down when the egg is put into it.

12 Akila May 29, 2012 at 7:54 am

I’ve used the vortex method but, somehow, I still get unsightly strings at the end which I then end up pulling off to make my poached egg pretty. Looks like a great breakfast!

13 Jenn @LeftoverQueen June 2, 2012 at 10:24 am

This is definitely my kind of breakfast! Beautiful!

14 CJ at Food Stories June 2, 2012 at 10:56 am

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15 Ricardo Carbajal Moss February 10, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Add a couple of drops of lemon juice and a slash of red wine to the water. This helps keep the egg together. I serve the egg over slices tomatoes

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