When a mother passes a treasured recipe down to her daughter, well, sometimes it’s a struggle to let go.
I watched this first hand when my friend, Wanda, attempted to pass along her recipe for Eggs Portuguese to her daughter, Leslie.
First off, Wanda could not find the original recipe which came from Brennan’s in New Orleans. It was on a sheet of paper lost somewhere in the vast and vaguely organized archives that live in Wanda’s attic. So she guessed. In fact, she titled her impromptu recipe: Eggs Portuguese…Your Guess Is As Good As Mine.
I love a Southern cook. So the recipe read something like this:
“Butter…olive oil…or a little of both. Sweet onions, chopped. Celery, chopped. Tomatoes. Mushrooms. Maybe just a touch of Creole seasoning, not much. Lots of fresh parsley. Eggs.”
So we sat in Leslie’s kitchen one Saturday and I was honored to be allowed to observe the struggle that Wanda was undergoing as she watched Leslie fill in the blanks.
First, Leslie attempted to protect her turf by the stove by mandating that Wanda sit at the kitchen table about five feet away.
“You can talk me through it,” Leslie said.
“But I can’t see what you’re doing,” complained Wanda. “I need to be closer.”
“Okay,” Leslie countered, “You can sit on a stool near the stove. But that’s it.”
About an hour later, they arrived at consensus. Wanda had passed the baton and it tasted delicious. It’s served with Hollandaise sauce, which I supplied. Recipe coming in another post.
This is my observation. Eggs Portuguese is great for brunch, lunch or a satisfying dinner. I might add in a little crushed red pepper or hot sauce since that’s my preference. If you have leftover tomato mixture save it to serve over hot rice or pasta.
¼ stick butter with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
½ chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
2 15-ounce cans whole tomatoes, drained and juice reserved
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Saute the onions and celery over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet until onions are translucent. Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juice. Add the tomatoes to the onions and celery, breaking them up into large chunks.
Add the oregano, basil, parsley, mushrooms and Creole seasoning. Thin the sauce out with 1 cup of the reserved tomato juice and add the tomato paste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a 9-by-9 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until bubbly. Remove the dish from the oven, make 4 indentations in the sauce with the back of a spoon and crack the eggs into the indentations. Return the dish to the oven and continue to bake for 6-8 minutes or until the egg whites are set while the yolks are still runny. Garnish with parsley.
Serve over buttered English muffins.