Portuguese peas and eggs, ervilhas com ovos in Portuguese, is a favorite side for special occasions. It’s a simple, humble dish of cooked peas mixed with bacon and onions and topped with poached eggs. Fantastico!
This bright-green pea recipe, found so often in Portuguese homes, especially in spring and Easter, is a cinch to make. By the time you have the bacon cooked, the eggs are poached and all you have to do is assemble. Well, if the Portuguese were skilled enough to discover much of the world, forge trade routes, and make salt cod a national treasure, they can certainly make a quick and easy side dish.–Frank Alexandre
LC WHERE THERE’S SMOKE THERE’S SAUSAGE NOTE
For a smokier, earthy flavor, reduce the amount of bacon to 3 ounces and add 3 ounces of diced chouriço, Portugal’s famous and ubiquitous sausage.
Portuguese Peas and Eggs ~ Ervilhas com Ovos
- 6 ounces thick-cut slab bacon sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces (see LC Note)
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 4 to 6 large eggs
- 3 cups (about 1 pound) frozen baby peas thawed
- 1 medium tomato seeded and diced
- Coarse salt
- Ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley for garnish
- In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until crispy-chewy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels. Reduce heat to low and add the onion to skillet. Sauté in bacon fat until golden brown and slick, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fill a deep skillet with 3 inches water and add the vinegar. Place the skillet over medium heat and bring to a bare simmer. Break an egg into a 1/3-cup measuring cup and gently tip it into water. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Poach the eggs to taste, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate, and trim any straggly ends. Cover and keep warm.
- Add the peas to skillet with onions and toss them until warmed. Add the tomato and bacon bits, and season with salt and pepper.
- To serve, transfer the pea mixture to a warmed serving bowl. Make an indentation in the peas for each egg, nestle in the eggs, and sprinkle with parsley. Instruct your guests to scoop peas onto their plates and crown with an egg.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Originally published April 07, 2009
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Another option is to fashion small indents into the bed of peas as they are cooking crack the eggs directly into the peas set to simmer and cover until the eggs are cooked to your liking. This is how my Portuguese mom used to do it. Less to clean up too. P.S. always use Portuguese chouriço and add 1 to 2 bay leaves while cooking the onion and peas. Adds a ton of flavor.
Thanks for that, Phillip.
Surprising delicious, definitely more than the sum of its parts.
Agreed! Thanks, Adam.
Made this for dinner tonight, and boy, was it excellent! On the first truly mild and beautiful spring day after a freak spring snow storm, this dish was so very reminiscent of spring. As David describes, it is traditional for spring and Easter, and I can see why. Along with my zillion Polish traditions, I am most definitely tempted to include this somehow or some way.
I drained off about 2/3 the bacon grease before I sauteed the onions. This is just by dietary choice. I don’t think it hurt the dish at all and it did not impact the cooking.
I used two medium Roma tomatoes instead of any other kind, because that is what I had. Sweet tomatoes in season would kill this. I kept imagining sweet heirlooms, although that tomato may be traditional for this dish, the sweetness would definitely elevate it more. Also, i am a sucker for sweet heirlooms. 🙂
The creaminess of the eggs was simply just perfect. And, if you keep a pot of steaming water on the stove while you warm and assemble the peas, you can dip the eggs for a minute or so in the steaming water before laying them on the bed of peas, bacon, onion, and tomato goodness. I poached my eggs instead of basting them. It’s easier for me but because the yolk is covered by white in the poaching process, you do miss the beautiful yellow of the yolk against vibrant green of the peas.
This is a great light lunch or brunch item. Really superbly delicious.
Lauren, so happy you enjoyed it!