Soft Boiled Eggs and Greens

I have figured out the perfect spring dinner. I think I’ve made it four nights this week. It takes advantage of the best of the spring produce, and is both quick and satisfying.

Soft Boiled Eggs and Greens

For this recipe, I will plug the beautiful eggs I get from The Farm at Sunnyside at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market on Sundays. I also work there a few times a month. Although interestingly, a few weeks ago one of our loyal egg customers gently complained to us that the eggs weren’t poaching very well. We explained that in the winter (this was February, I think), the hens aren’t laying as often, so the eggs we have are a bit older than when turnover is higher. In general, as eggs get older their whites get thinner and spread out more in the water, not ideal for poaching into a perfect little package.

Admittedly, at the time I thought she was being a bit cranky. But next time I went to poach some eggs from the farm, I noticed that she was right. That’s when I started soft boiling, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back to poaching. With soft boiling, you get an even more custardy yoke, you don’t have to watch them, just set the timer to 6 minutes and walk away, and they turn out the same every time. You could also easily do six or eight eggs at once, which is much tougher with poaching.

In this preparation (really more of a method than a recipe), you can use any kind of greens. I’ve been using some beautiful kale raab or collard raab, also from Sunnyside. Never heard of kale or collard raab? Some googling around found a nice explanation from

“Raab comes in the spring, from over-wintered brassica varieties. The raab is the flower buds that look like tiny broccoli heads — hence the classic “broccoli raab” that grows from mustard greens (also in the brassica family) and not from a genuine broccoli plant. You can have kale raab, turnip raab, arugula raab, mustard raab, collard raab, and many traditional Asian greens that feature the flower bud. They’re all good.”

A nice trick for peeling soft boiled eggs is to rap the fat end of the egg on the counter, where the air pocket is, and peel up from there. They should peel easily this way.

Soft Boiled Eggs and Greens

Serves 1, but infinitely multipliable

2 eggs
2 cups of greens, chopped (like kale, spinach, or collard greens)
Parmesan cheese, grated
Lemon juice

Fill a small sauce pan with enough water to cover the two eggs and bring to a boil (but don’t put the eggs in yet). While you are waiting for the water to boil, chop the greens and place them in a steamer basket inside a pot with about an inch of water underneath. Turn on medium high heat under that pot, and cover it. Steam the greens until they are tender but still bright green.

Once the egg pot water boils, place the eggs in the boiling water and set a timer for six minutes.

When the greens are cooked, remove them from the steamer and toss with the parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. I like to add the parmesan right away, so it has time to soften a bit, before adding the lemon juice at the end just before serving.

When the egg timer goes off, remove the eggs from the heat and immediately run some cold water over them. Once you can comfortably hold one (they’ll still be hot), carefully peel the shell off each one. Place each egg on top of the greens and smoosh with a fork so that you expose the yolk. Sprinkle a bit more salt over each egg, and serve.


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