This recipe from chef Carla Hall of “The Chew” plays on the old Dr. Seuss book “Green Eggs and Ham.” Here spinach and avocado salsa top eggs and thick slices of country bread. A drizzle of jalapeno oil completes the dish. A great St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.
Okay, so maybe this recipe isn’t exactly what Dr. Seuss had in mind when he wrote Green Eggs and Ham 50-some years ago. What’s that? You don’t recall the exact rhyme? Perhaps you’ll remember the namesake recipe that Carla made a few seasons ago on Top Chef. Her take is not fried or boiled, not poached or broiled, not soft or scrambled. You may like them. You will see.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Green Eggs and Ham FAQs
Picking the perfect avocado is a snap. First, look at the color – remembering that avocados come in all sizes and colors but typically, darker fruits are the ripest. (They could range from dark green to nearly black!) Second, do the squeeze test – but not the way you’re probably used to. Don’t squeeze the sides, that can actually bruise the precious fruit. Instead, flick off the top stem part and push in gently there. If the avocado yields to somewhat firm, yet gentle pressure, you have a winner. If it’s really soft, it’s likely overripe and brown inside. Avoid fruit that is squishy, feels dry or hollow in some areas or has dark blemishes on the skin.
Country ham is dry-cured over a long period of time. It has an almost nutty, rich and intensely salty flavor, and can be sold smoked or raw. City hams are what most of us think of when we think of the word ham: wet-cured, already fully cooked and smoked, and coated in sweet and/or savory sauces like honey, mustard, fruit juices, and/or bourbon.
Green Eggs and Ham
For the jalapeno oil
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 jalapeno chile roasted, peeled, and seeded
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the avocado salsa
- 1 avocado peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 green tomato seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeno seeded and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 small bunch of chives minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the green eggs and ham
- Canola oil for cooking
- 1/2 pound country or other cooked ham diced
- 1/2 cup spinach leaves cut into chiffonade
- 4 large eggs
- 4 sort-of thick slices bread preferably brioche or challah
Make the jalapeno oil
- Blend the parsley, 1/4 of the roasted jalapeno, and the olive oil in a food processor or blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip a spoon in the oil and take a taste. If desired, add more of the roasted jalapeno to suite your taste and blend again.
Make the avocado salsa
- Combine the avocado, tomato, diced jalapeno, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of the chives. Season with salt and pepper.
Make the green eggs and ham
- In a large sauté pan, heat a little canola oil over medium heat and cook the ham until crisp at the edges. Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with the chives. Wipe the oil from the skillet.
- In a bowl, combine the spinach and 2 egg whites. Whisk in the remaining 2 egg whites until combined. Heat a little more canola oil in the pan used to cook the ham. Pour the spinach mixture into the pan and gently spoon the egg yolks into the whites, spacing them as the pan allows. Cover and cook until the whites are set, about 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toast the bread and spread with butter.
- To serve, top each slice of toast with a wedge of green egg, add some of the avocado salsa and some ham, and then drizzle with jalapeno oil. Eat them! Eat them! Here they are!
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Green eggs and ham is a fun recipe, but more importantly, it’s a delicious one. The jalapeno oil is bright and fresh, as is the avocado salsa. It all comes together pretty quickly, even with making the oil and salsa. Using quail yolks is very “Top Chef-y,” but I’m glad that separating regular chicken eggs works just as well (what would you do with quail egg whites and chicken egg yolks?). Whisking the spinach with the egg whites was fun, although next time I might blend them for a greener color.
I was a little skeptical of this recipe starting out, but once on the plate, it looked beautiful and the flavors and textures all came together. It was hot and salty, crispy and moist, flecked with vivid green and dotted with bright yellow yolks. Next time, I’ll tweak the recipe a little more to our personal tastes. Some bites of the meal were too spicy for us, so in the future, I’ll scale the amount of jalapeños used to the amount of heat we want. I’ll also find a type of ham that’s less salty than country ham—while it was good, its saltiness was a bit overwhelming.
If you want something fun and almost flamboyant for breakfast, this is it. There are several yummy things going on in these green eggs and ham, from the gorgeous parsley jalapeno oil, to the buttery avocado salsa and the spinach-y eggs. Our spinach is growing rampant, so the timing of this was perfect. The recipe only requires a teeny bit more effort than other similar egg dishes, but it’s well worth it. I loved it on a gluten-free English muffin. I’m attracted to interesting and unique recipes, and this one was a pleasure.
Originally published August 11, 2020