Crunchy bread, a runny egg, creamy spinach, spicy mustard, all sprinkled with feta cheese…need I say more? What about how this takes 10 minutes to make from start to finish so you can eat it for lunch, or breakfast, or even dinner? I know, it’s genius and it’s absolutely delicious. It has become my go-to lunch on the days I don’t work, so much so that I make sure to always have these ingredients on hand.
Speaking of ingredients, I want to highlight two out of many of the foods that I love buying from our local grocery store here in Oki. Up first, the eggs. I have to admit I was a little shocked the first time I cracked open an egg here. The yolk was dark orange, not the lemon yellow color I was used to in the US. I was even more surprised because I didn’t buy the expensive eggs, just the normal, 10 count (not 12, something I’ve had to get adjust to) plastic package. I know from my nutrition classes, and a little refresher from Google, that egg yolks change color depending on the hen’s diet. The more yellow-orange carotenoids in the diet, the same pigment which causes carrots to be orange, the darker the yolk will be. Current research has not proven that the nutritional value of the egg changes depending on the color of the yolk, but all that matters to me is that the hens are eating a more natural diet. What is even better is I don’t have to find a local farm, organic grocery store or spend an exorbitant amount of money to get these eggs. All of the eggs, or at least all that I’ve bought in Okinawa, look like this!
The second ingredient, and one that I presume will be much harder to find once we leave Okinawa, is the sandwich bread. Oh my gosh, this bread! I wasn’t much of a bread eater when we moved to Japan. I always tried to have some sandwich bread in my freezer for the occasional toast or sandwich craving, but I felt like grocery store bread was not worth the calories or space in my small kitchen. Once we moved here though, I started hearing about this bread from coworkers and friends. So, one day, I got up the nerve to buy some (buying a package only labeled in Japanese is intimidating at first). I was immediately hooked. This bread is creamy and slightly sweet with a chewy crust. The slices are huge and about double the thickness of regular bread, which makes it perfect for half sandwiches or towering French toast. After a little research, this time with Cook’s Illustrated, I’m pretty sure this is a version of milk bread. Cook’s Illustrated describes it as a soft, rich sandwich loaf with a snow-white crumb that’s a staple in Asian bakeries. That sounds about right, so, since I can’t read the package, I’m just going to be content with knowing that I love it. Plus, it comes in 100% whole wheat. Grocery store sandwich bread is never going to get much better than this.
Now that I have you all drooling over ingredients that you may not be able to find in the U.S., let me tell you another thing I love about this recipe. It’s extremely versatile and adaptable. Crunchy French or sourdough bread would be divine here and definitely better than most run of the mill sliced bread. (See what I did there? My husband would be so proud!) Don’t have crumbled feta? Sliced gouda, havarti or crumbled goat cheese is also delicious. Sub spicy brown mustard for Dijon, regular milk for half and half, a shallot instead of onion, the list goes on and on. Hopefully I covered all of the excuses you came up with to not make this recipe right now. So go ahead, take those 10 minutes and, while you’re at it, make two and I’ll meet you at the table.