Give Me Five: Who can resist the comfort of egg and chips?

If it’s good enough for John Lennon, it’s good enough for us

This week, Lilly Higgins makes classic comfort food 'eggs & chips' using just five ingredients. Video: Kathleen Harris

 

The mere mention of egg and chips conjures up the pivotal scene in the film Shirley Valentine. Expecting his usual Thursday fare of steak and chips, her husband cruelly pushes the plate of egg and chips on to her lap in protest, which proves the catalyst long-suffering Liverpool housewife Shirley needs to up and leave her husband.

Any time I see that scene it makes me crave egg and chips. Who would discard such a glorious meal? Two perfectly fried eggs and a huge side of chips cooked by someone who loves you. It’s the ultimate comfort food: crispy fried potatoes with floury centres dipped into the yolk of a sunny egg. It was John Lennon’s favourite grub when served with a pot of strong tea.

I’ve changed the traditional format here and made a type of patatas bravas. It’s a hassle-free quick way of making chips: cubed potatoes tossed in oil, and then roasted. I sometimes make a hollow in between the chips and crack the eggs in once the potatoes are almost cooked, then return the tray to the oven until the eggs are done. It’s a one-pan dinner that’s quick and easy.

Roasting the cherry tomatoes makes them sweet and intensifies the flavour. I’ve made a simplified version of salsa verde to drizzle over the dish. The incredible burst of flavour from the garlic and parsley is addictive.

More elaborate versions can have Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, anchovies and a host of green herbs. Once you’ve made salsa verde once, you’ll find yourself drizzling it over everything. You can mix it with mayonnaise for sandwiches or use as a base for a salad dressing.

Splatter it Jackson Pollock- style over fish. It’s also amazing drizzled over a pizza that’s just out of the oven. I use rooster potatoes, scrubbed clean but not peeled. You can peel them, of course, but it’s easier not to and there are valuable nutrients in the skin.

It’s best to season the chips as soon as they come out of the oven; the oil will ensure that the sea salt sticks, otherwise the crunchy crystals will just fall off and remain in the tray. Use the freshest, nicest eggs whenever possible; an ochre yolk is full of flavour and will crown this dish nicely.

 

EGG AND CHIPS: SERVES 4

 

The five ingredients

1 – 500g potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2cm cubes 2 – 30g parsley 3 – Two cloves of garlic 4 – Four eggs 5 – 350g cherry tomatoes

 

From the cupboard

Sea salt and black pepper Olive oil

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place a roasting tray in the oven to warm.

Place the potato cubes in a sieve and rinse under running water to remove excess starch. Dry using a tea towel. Next, place them in a large bowl and pour over 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and mix well so that each cube is coated. Tip the potato into the hot roasting tray and bake for 40-45 minutes until crisp.

Meanwhile blitz the parsley, garlic and 60ml of olive oil with a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper. It should become a creamy, green-flecked sauce. Set aside.

Pour a little olive oil on your hands and gently coat the tomatoes. Place in the roasting tin once the chips have only five minutes or so of cooking time remaining. Once the skins begin to burst, remove the tray and immediately season the potatoes with a little salt. Remember there will be salt in the salsa verde also, so don’t use too much.

For the eggs, heat one tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan. Once hot, crack the eggs in carefully. Lower the heat and leave to cook. It usually takes one minute for a perfectly cooked egg, but leave a little longer if a solid yolk is preferred. Remember: the egg continues to cook for a time after it has been removed from the heat.

To serve, divide the chips among four bowls or plates, top with the cherry tomatoes and a fried egg, then drizzle generously with the salsa verde.

Every Thursday we’ll tweet and post the five ingredients on irishtimes.com so you can have them ready on Friday. Email givemefive@irishtimes.com with your own suggestions for recipes.

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