I like to think this week’s Tuesday dinner is getting back to its roots, the crux of what you really want on a regular old Tuesday night: Food. Made quickly. And without too many dishes to wash.
Her recipe for poached eggs, toast and sliced avocado takes less than 10 minutes to throw together (and uses only one saucepan) leaving plenty of time for evening yoga classes, chatting with your spouse, tossing catnip-stuffed toy mice at your kitty and — especially for Katia — planning new episodes of her fascinating and fun podcast, The France Project, which explores France through interviews and stories by Katia and her guests (including yours truly).
Katia is an Australian expat living in Paris, where she balances a full-time job with podcasting and life with her lovely husband, Sylvain, and adorably tiny cat, Symphony. Like every Aussie I’ve ever met, Katia is an excellent cook and I’m delighted to share her tips for fast weekday meals.
Her Tuesday night schedule:
I work full time and after hours I’m often running around town interviewing people for the show or investigating potential topics. I take a yoga class after work on Tuesdays which means I don’t get home until around 8.30-9pm, and my husband usually gets home late from work too. We get home, hug Symphony, throw something simple on the stovetop as we talk about our day, then collapse in front of the couch to watch TV.
Her number one weeknight cooking tip:
I always plan the week’s meals in advance. Our Sunday morning ritual involves going to the market, which is located just around the corner from our place, so we do most of our weekly shopping then, with my plan in mind, and I try to fit in a visit or two to the greengrocer or butcher later in the week to round it all out. I’m an organizer at heart and having everything planned for the week gives me one less thing to worry about.
On cooking in quantity:
We try to make meals that will last for several days so we don’t need to cook something new every single night. For example, last weekend we made your exquisite meatball recipe — by upping the quantities, we made enough for about four meals, one of which we popped in the freezer, and I had enough left over for a packed lunch for work!
Speaking of her freezer…
It’s currently filled with leftover single servings of bolognese sauce, quiche, meat pie, lasagne, minestrone, various pasta sauces, as well as summer compôtes, stewed mirabelles and cubes of pesto for throwing in dishes over the winter months.
Her all-time favorite throw-together meal:
We call it “bits & pieces” because it really is just that, depending on what we have floating around! I always keep tins of smoked mussels and sardines in the pantry and, like any honorable French household, we always have cheese in the fridge. If I have time I’ll scoot past the greengrocer to pick up some cherry tomatoes and fresh fruit, and I’ll grab a fresh baguette. Throw all these things on a big serving board and you have a delightfully simple meal. It works really well for just the two of us or when we have unexpected visitors!
Poached egg with avocado
By Katia Grimmer-Laversanne
Note: “There are times when the freezer is empty or I really don’t want to eat yet another bowl of soup,” says Katia. “Our current favorite no-fuss meal involves just a few ingredients but is super satisfying. And en plus, it’s super-quick — it’s ready in the time it takes to poach eggs! As you can imagine, this is an amazing brunch dish too. Add a bit of bacon and Bob’s your uncle!” I made this with a delicious egg from the Farmer’s Market and baby spinach leaves instead of sprouts (which I had a devil of a time finding).
2 or 4 eggs, as fresh as possible (1 or 2 per person, depending on how hungry you are!)
1 teaspoon vinegar (for poaching the eggs — though I omitted)
2 thick slices of bread (Katia likes to use the pain aux céréales from her amazing baker. “I don’t let them tranche it though,” she says “since I like thicker slices for toasting”)
A handful of sprouts (alfalfa, watercress or pea sprouts)
High-quality extra virgin olive oil
piment d’espelette (or black pepper)
Toast the bread. Poach the eggs by filling a saucepan 1/3 of the way with water and a teaspoon of vinegar. Bring to a simmer. Swirling the water with a spoon, carefully add the eggs and let poach on a gentle simmer for 2 1/2 minutes.
Whilst the eggs are poaching, prepare two plates with a piece of toast on each. Halve the avocado and remove the stone, then cut into slices, lengthways. Fan out one half of the avocado on each plate. Drizzle with olive oil and a little lemon juice. Decorate with the sprouts.
When the eggs are poached, remove with a slotted spoon and place on top of the toasts. Sprinkle everything with a tiny amount of piment d’espelette and serve immediately.
Symphony says: “This is how you’ll feel after eating Katia’s recipe. Meow.”
(Non-food photos from Katia Grimmer-Laversanne.)