A combination of eggs, tomato, eggplant, fish sauce, and Edam cheese might sound bizarre — unappetizing, even — but before you shy away, let me implore you to give this savory and satisfying breakfast bite a chance. A ramekin-bound spin on poqui poqui, a Northern Philippines eggplant and egg scramble of sorts, this exotic option tastes fabulous rather than funky, as the fish sauce and Edam cheese add an umami punch rather than a domineeringly cheesy or fermented flavor.
Add to its virtues a solid dose of Summer vegetables, its ease of preparation, and a brunch-friendly nature, and it quickly becomes clear why you'll be singing its praises on first bite. If this creative take on an Ilocano classic is any indication of the quality of content tucked between the pages of The Adobo Road Cookbook, then I'll be coming back to this cookbook for further inspiration with fervor, and you should follow suit.
Get the savory and satisfying recipe.
Make certain to use slender Japanese or Chinese eggplants; their flesh is sweeter and more tender.
- 1 1/2 pounds Asian eggplant, about 3-4 medium eggplants
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup shredded Edam or gouda cheese
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- Soy sauce, to taste
- Smoked Spanish paprika, to taste
- Pierce the eggplant all over with the tip of a sharp knife. Roast the eggplant directly over the gas flame of your stovetop, turning the eggplant with tongs to ensure the skin is charred on all sides, 5-7 minutes. Alternatively, you can place the eggplant on a cookie sheet directly under the broiler and broil, turning over once, 10-12 minutes total. The eggplant is done when the skin is charred and wrinkled, and the flesh is very soft. Set the charred eggplant aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium nonstick pan over moderately high heat. Add the garlic and cook until it just begins to brown, 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato, fish sauce, and black pepper, and cook until the tomato softens and most of the juices have cooked away, 3-5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and set aside.
- Cut off the eggplant caps and peel off the eggplant skin. Roughly chop the flesh of the eggplant, season with salt to taste, and then equally divide the flesh among four 8- or 10-ounce oven-safe ramekins. Equally divide the shredded cheese among the ramekins, and then divide the tomato mixture among the ramekins.
- Using the back of the spoon, form a shallow well in the center of each ramekin, and then crack an egg into each well — being careful not to break the yolks.
- Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven until the egg whites are set, but the yolks are still runny, 15-20 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the oven. Drizzle each egg with soy sauce, and sprinkle with paprika.
- Eggs, Breakfast/Brunch
- Other Asian