Poached eggs with avocado yoghurt and pilpelchuma
An Ottolenghi twist on Turkish eggs that is simply lifechanging.
For the pilpelchuma
3 small garlic bulbs
105ml olive oil
2 dried chipotle chillies, stems and seeds removed
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
½ tsp aleppo chilli
1 tsp paprika
Flaked sea salt and black pepper
For the avocado yoghurt
2 ripe avocados
75g thick-set Greek yoghurt (5% fat or above), or store-bought labneh
1 lime, finely grated to get ½ tsp zest, then juiced, to get 1 tbsp
2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
1½ tbsp Thai basil leaves, finely chopped
For the eggs
4 large eggs
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 slices sourdough bread, toasted, to serve (optional)
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6, then start on the pilpelchuma. Trim the tops off the garlic bulbs to reveal the cloves inside. Place each head on a small piece of tinfoil and season each one with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of oil. Tightly wrap them individually, then roast for 35 minutes, until nicely softened and golden. Remove, set aside to cool completely, then squeeze the heads to release the roast cloves from the papery skins (discard the skins).
Meanwhile, put the chillies in a heatproof bowl, pour over enough boiling water to submerge them, then weigh down the chillies with a small saucer and leave to rehydrate for 20 minutes.
For the yoghurt, cut the avocados in half, then remove and discard the stones and skins. Put the flesh in a food processor with the yoghurt, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and the lime zest and juice, and blitz smooth. Add a tablespoon each of the herbs and pulse for 30 seconds, until the mix is flecked with green, then set aside. (If you like, make this up to a day ahead; cover and refrigerate, but bring it back up to room temperature before serving.)
Put the cumin, caraway and sesame seeds in a small frying pan over a medium heat and toast for three minutes until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and crush coarsely.
Drain and roughly chop the soaked chillies, then put them in the mortar with the roast garlic flesh, aleppo chilli, paprika and a quarter-teaspoon of flaked salt. Work the mix into a loose paste, adding the remaining 60ml of oil bit by bit – the end result will be split and textured – then scrape into a bowl and keep at room temperature.
Half-fill a large saucepan with water, add half a tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low, add the vinegar and swirl the water vigorously to create a mini-whirlpool. Crack the eggs one at a time into the water, gently swirling the water again between each addition, and cook for three minutes for poached eggs with runny yolks (cook them for longer if you prefer harder yolks). Lift out the eggs one by one with a slotted spoon and drain on a sheet of absorbent kitchen paper.
Divide the avocado yoghurt between two medium lipped plates, then make a well in the centre of each portion. Put two eggs on top of each and sprinkle with a good grind of pepper and flaked salt. Spoon the pilpelchuma liberally over the eggs (keep the excess for another use)scatter over the remaining tablespoon of coriander and half-tablespoon of basil, and serve with the toast, if using, on the side.
Recipe credit: Yotam Ottolenghi