It's Groundhog Day, but don't worry - I'm not Andrew Zimmern and I'm not roasting any rodents!
Instead, I'm inspired by two sources for today's simple but comforting recipe that would be great for a breakfast, light lunch or supper.
For starters, we must honor Punxsutawney Phil, whether he sees his shadow or not. According to Animal Planet, "groundhogs go wild for succulent green plants." Well, spinach is one of the most vividly green vegetables there is, with many nutrients and fabulous flavor no matter how it's served.
And then, of course, there's the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day," in which the main character lives the same day over and over again until he has learned some necessary lessons. He is redeemed as he purges himself of his narcissism, realizing that others have needs and learning to contribute to - rather than only take from - the universe.
How this character and his repetitive, self-absorbed existence relate to poached eggs, spinach and hash browns is an inside joke which I'm not going to explain; but trust me - today is the day to serve this dish.
These items combine to make a really delicious meal that is a testament to the beauty of what can be accomplished with just a few simple ingredients, as long as they're well chosen. There's no need for rich sauces, cheese, bacon, or other accoutrements; this is perfect just as it is.
Poached Eggs with Spinach and Hash Browns
4 tablespoons light olive oil
2 cups frozen shredded potatoes
generous pinch of sea salt
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and press down to make a flat layer. Cook for 5 minutes, carefully flip the potatoes (it's okay to flip them in sections then press them back together), then cook for another 5 minutes until both sides are golden.
3 cups water
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 large eggs
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan, then turn the heat down to simmer. Break each egg into a 1/4-cup measuring cup, and carefully slide the eggs into the water. Cook the eggs for 5 minutes.
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 cups baby spinach leaves
pinches of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach, salt and pepper; cook just until the spinach is wilted.
To serve: Place half of the hash browns onto each of two serving plates. Top with the spinach, then carefully use a large spoon to scoop out the eggs and place them on top of the spinach. Serve with fruit and with rye toast, if desired.