Cilantro is one of those odd ingredients that people either love or… do not.
Did you know there are people who are genetically predisposed to taste cilantro like it’s soap? This is sad and I’m very glad that I am not one of these people.
I am, however, predisposed to murdering cilantro.
I’ve tried to grow it three years in a row with pretty much no luck. Cilantro and basil. The two herbs that everyone I know seems to be able to grow. Except for me. I can grow lots of other herbs but, not those. So no homemade pesto for me. And I’m doomed to buy big bunches of cilantro at the green grocers and then madly try to put cilantro in everything before it goes all wilty and bad.
Or am I?
Look at this!!!
Growing and healthy!
On my balcony!
I don’t even know how this happened. I went out onto the kitchen deck the other day for the first time since last fall and as I was heading back into the house, something green on the balcony floor caught my eye and I was shocked to see a healthy batch of cilantro growing quite nicely, thank you very much, in my abandoned herb planter!
You can see all the pinecones and pine needles that fell into the planter with the winter wind storms, not to mention the moss that grows everywhere on the wet West Coast. I guess they kept the soil nice and damp and warm and the house sheltered it.
So that’s the trick to cilantro, I guess! Just plant it in summer, watch it dry up and die and then walk away and leave it outside all winter in the rain and voila!
Anyway, I have loved going out onto my deck to snip a few bits for ramen or scrambled eggs or dippy soldiers!
The other day the food husband and I went out to try the Ramen Butcher just outside of Chinatown. I always get a soft boiled egg in my ramen – the yolk melts into the broth and makes it even silkier and rich. But on this particular day, the waitress told me I could have an extra half an egg in my ramen because I had red hair!
Apparently I missed the sign on the way in the door…
But it got me thinking, why don’t I eat soft boiled eggs anymore except when I’m having ramen? My mom used to make them for us fairly often when we were kids. But I can’t remember the last time I made one for myself.
And so, I’ve been on a soft boiled egg and dippy soldier kick. Dippy soldiers are strips of perfectly buttered toast that you dip into the oozy, creamy yolk. You can make straight forward soldiers that are just toast or, you can dress them up like I’ve been doing – with a sprinkling of parmesan and cilantro. Oh, and you have to butter the toast with salted butter. And the toast can’t be burnt – or hard – we’re thinking soft and golden here, not biscotti style toast!
Soft boiled eggs are such an easy breakfast – they’re ready in minutes.
You don’t need a recipe for them – simply place a fresh egg in a saucepan of boiling water so it’s completely covered. Leave it to boil for five minutes. Some people say six but I don’t like my yolk to be hard, even around the edges. I want it oozing and soft. I use a timer for this to be sure. Then run your egg under cold water for 30 seconds to stop it cooking.
Topping the egg can be tricky – I’m not very good at it. I just smash a teaspoon down on the top of the egg so it cracks and then I peel it down to the point where I can cut the white off and have a hole big enough to dip my soldiers into.
To make soldiers, make yourself some toast. And this is where I find the type of bread to be important. I prefer white bread – preferably sourdough or calabrese bread – nice and soft. It will toast up perfectly – golden but still soft in the centre and hot enough for the butter to melt into the cracks. I like salted butter just because I don’t salt my egg. You can stop right there and slice your toast into 1/2 inch wide strips and start dipping! But I like to top the toast with some grated parmesan and some cilantro or basil first. You can add whatever toppings you like but remember, you want to enjoy that delicious creamy yellow yolk so don’t over power it!