It’s not very often where I dine somewhere and feel so emotionally connected to the food. At Sqirl, the food doesn’t just remind me of my home (California) with it’s slight hippie sensibility, but feels like food you’ve been dreaming of and didn’t know you were missing.
I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for a cookbook - not just for inspiration, visually or otherwise - but for once, to actually cook from it. Crispy rice, sorrel pesto rice bowl, buckwheat financiers - I cannot get enough of Jessica’s food. It was shocking to realize the simplicity of some of these recipes. Specifically the famous sorrel pesto, which includes almost exclusively - lemon, olive oil and sorrel. Most of the recipes are remarkably uncomplicated in a way that can only be described as everything I want to eat…and cook, too.
SQIRL SORREL PESTO BLACK RICE BOWL (Gluten-free) Serves 2
- 1 cup black rice
- 2 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced (on mandolin)
- 1 lemon, divided
- Extra Virgin Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill, parsley, chives
- 1/2 preserved lemon, peel finely diced
- 1 teaspoon preserved lemon juice
- 1-2 oz feta cheese, crumbled (opt)
- 2 large eggs
- Hot sauce, to serve
- 1 cup chopped sorrel, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup chopped kale leaves, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Sea salt, to taste
In a large saucepan, add rice, two cups of water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25-30 minutes until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
In a small bowl, add sliced radish, about 1/2 lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Leave aside to marinate while you prepare the pesto.
To make pesto: in a blender or food processor, add sorrel, kale, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice and salt to taste. Blend until smooth.
In a large bowl, toss the rice with herbs, preserved lemon, about a teaspoon of preserved lemon juice and prepared pesto. Season with salt.
To poach eggs:
Fill a large saucepan with water and a good splash of white vinegar. Over med-high heat, let the temperature come up until you begin to see tiny bubbles around the rim.
Crack your eggs into tiny ramekins. Then gently whirlpool the water and slide in your eggs (one at a time, if you’re nervous) into the center of the whirlpool. Let the eggs sit for about 30 seconds, then slowly stir in a circle making sure the egg white wraps around the yolk. *If you are poaching two at a time, now add your second egg, repeating the process (and steering clear of your other egg)/ If your egg gets stuck on the bottom of the pan, don’t fret, use a silicon spatula to carefully remove it. If your water gets close to boiling or simmering, reduce heat. You want a still, steady heat to poach them in. Let cook, gently stirring in a circular motion, until egg whites just begin to firm (or set, gently touch the egg white to judge doneness), and aren’t translucent. Remove with a slotted spoon, draining the water, then top an egg on each serving.
Assemble your bowls: Divide rice among bowls with hot sauce, crumbled feta, marinated radish and top with a poached egg (see above). Garnish with more herbs, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately!