Squash and Eggs Au Poivre

SERVES: 4

Any type of winter squash, or even sweet potatoes will work well here. Just remember to peel any varieties that tend to have thick, inedible skin such as butternut squash or kabocha. I like to use a mix of different squashes to introduce both flavor and aesthetic variation to the dish.

Active Time: 45 Mins

Total Time: 45 MIns

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Produce

  • 3 ½ pounds winter squash such as delicata, acorn, butternut

     

  • 5 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish

     

  • 2 medium shallots

Pantry

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

     

  • Kosher salt

     

  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

     

  • ½ cup cognac, brandy, or sake

     

  • soy sauce, to taste

     

  • ½ cup panko

Dairy

  • 2 tablespoons butter

     

  • ⅔ cup heavy cream

     

  • 4 eggs

1. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven:

  • Preheat the oven to 450. The heating element is usually at the bottom of your oven so arranging the rack closer to the bottom ensures you’re in the hottest part of the oven. Hot oven = good browning.

2. Prep and roast the squash:

  • If using butternut squash you’ll need to peel them. If using Delicata or Acorn, no need. Cut 3 1/2 pounds of squash in half through the root end. Scoop out and discard the seeds and stringy bits. Cut the squash crosswise into 1” half moons.
  • Combine the squash and 5 sprigs of thyme on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • Drizzle all over with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with 1 ½ teaspoons salt.
  • Arrange the squash in a single layer as best as possible.
  • Roast, flipping once, until caramelized on bottom slides, about 35-40 minutes total

3. Make the au poivre sauce:

  • Finely chop 2 medium shallots.
  • Using a heavy skillet or mug, smash 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns. They should be coarsely ground.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the shallots and crushed peppercorns and a pinch of salt and cook over medium until very soft, 3-4 minutes.
  • Add ½ cup of whichever liquor you are using, increase the heat to medium high, and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated, 5-6 minutes.
  • Add ⅔ cup of heavy cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon without sliding off, 2-4 minutes.
  • Season to taste with soy sauce (about 1½ tsp).

4. Make the crispy breadcrumbs:

  • Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ cup panko in large, non-stick skillet and set over medium heat.
  • Cook, stirring and tossing often until panko is deeply golden brown, 4-5 minutes.
  • Transfer the panko to a small plate and season with salt. Wipe out the skillet.

5. Cook the eggs:

  • From here, you can cook the eggs however you like! Want crispy fried eggs? Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat in that non-stick skillet and crack the eggs into the oil once very hot. Cooking, spooning the oil up over the whites until very crisp. For softer edges, turn the heat way down and cook the eggs over medium low, until set but not browned. Want scrambled eggs? Add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the skillet set over medium heat, add 4 vigorously beaten eggs and a big pinch of salt, and cook, stirring with a spatula in sweeping figure 8 motions until just set.
  • You could also boil or poach your eggs. Do you!!

6. Serve:

  • Divide the squash among plates or bowls.
  • Spoon some of the au poivre sauce over the squash.
  • Top each bowl with an egg, and sprinkle generously with the crispy breadcrumbs.
  • Garnish with more fresh thyme leaves.

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