Tuesday dinner with The France Project | Ann Mah

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Tuesday dinner with Katia from The France Project

By Ann | November 13, 2012

I like to think this week’s Tuesday dinner is getting back to its roots, the crux of what you really want on a regular old Tuesday night: Food. Made quickly. And without too many dishes to wash.

Katia from The France Project understands.

Her recipe for poached eggs, toast and sliced avocado takes less than 10 minutes to throw together (and uses only one saucepan) leaving plenty of time for evening yoga classes, chatting with your spouse, tossing catnip-stuffed toy mice at your kitty and — especially for Katia — planning new episodes of her fascinating and fun podcast, The France Project, which explores France through interviews and stories by Katia and her guests (including yours truly).

Katia is an Australian expat living in Paris, where she balances a full-time job with podcasting and life with her lovely husband, Sylvain, and adorably tiny cat, Symphony. Like every Aussie I’ve ever met, Katia is an excellent cook and I’m delighted to share her tips for fast weekday meals.


Her Tuesday night schedule: 
I work full time and after hours I’m often running around town interviewing people for the show or investigating potential topics. I take a yoga class after work on Tuesdays which means I don’t get home until around 8.30-9pm, and my husband usually gets home late from work too. We get home, hug Symphony, throw something simple on the stovetop as we talk about our day, then collapse in front of the couch to watch TV.

Her number one weeknight cooking tip:
I always plan the week’s meals in advance. Our Sunday morning ritual involves going to the market, which is located just around the corner from our place, so we do most of our weekly shopping then, with my plan in mind, and I try to fit in a visit or two to the greengrocer or butcher later in the week to round it all out. I’m an organizer at heart and having everything planned for the week gives me one less thing to worry about.

On cooking in quantity:
We try to make meals that will last for several days so we don’t need to cook something new every single night. For example, last weekend we made your exquisite meatball recipe — by upping the quantities, we made enough for about four meals, one of which we popped in the freezer, and I had enough left over for a packed lunch for work!

Speaking of her freezer…
It’s currently filled with leftover single servings of bolognese sauce, quiche, meat pie, lasagne, minestrone, various pasta sauces, as well as summer compôtes, stewed mirabelles and cubes of pesto for throwing in dishes over the winter months.

Her all-time favorite throw-together meal:
We call it “bits & pieces” because it really is just that, depending on what we have floating around! I always keep tins of smoked mussels and sardines in the pantry and, like any honorable French household, we always have cheese in the fridge. If I have time I’ll scoot past the greengrocer to pick up some cherry tomatoes and fresh fruit, and I’ll grab a fresh baguette. Throw all these things on a big serving board and you have a delightfully simple meal. It works really well for just the two of us or when we have unexpected visitors!


Poached egg with avocado
By Katia Grimmer-Laversanne

Serves 2

Note: “There are times when the freezer is empty or I really don’t want to eat yet another bowl of soup,” says Katia. “Our current favorite no-fuss meal involves just a few ingredients but is super satisfying. And en plus, it’s super-quick — it’s ready in the time it takes to poach eggs! As you can imagine, this is an amazing brunch dish too. Add a bit of bacon and Bob’s your uncle!” I made this with a delicious egg from the Farmer’s Market and baby spinach leaves instead of sprouts (which I had a devil of a time finding).

2 or 4 eggs, as fresh as possible (1 or 2 per person, depending on how hungry you are!)
1 teaspoon vinegar (for poaching the eggs — though I omitted)
2 thick slices of bread (Katia likes to use the pain aux céréales from her amazing baker. “I don’t let them tranche it though,” she says “since I like thicker slices for toasting”)
1 avocado
A handful of sprouts (alfalfa, watercress or pea sprouts)
High-quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon
piment d’espelette (or black pepper)

Toast the bread. Poach the eggs by filling a saucepan 1/3 of the way with water and a teaspoon of vinegar. Bring to a simmer. Swirling the water with a spoon, carefully add the eggs and let poach on a gentle simmer for 2 1/2 minutes.

Whilst the eggs are poaching, prepare two plates with a piece of toast on each. Halve the avocado and remove the stone, then cut into slices, lengthways. Fan out one half of the avocado on each plate. Drizzle with olive oil and a little lemon juice. Decorate with the sprouts.

When the eggs are poached, remove with a slotted spoon and place on top of the toasts. Sprinkle everything with a tiny amount of piment d’espelette and serve immediately.

Symphony says: “This is how you’ll feel after eating Katia’s recipe. Meow.”

(Non-food photos from Katia Grimmer-Laversanne.)

Topics: Tuesday dinner | 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “Tuesday dinner with Katia from The France Project”

  1. Kathryn Says:
    November 13th, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    LOVELY post – and I can attest to the quality of Katia’s cooking….from the complex to the “bits an pieces” that I love so much – she’s the best!

  2. Lindsey Says:
    November 13th, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    I love everything about Katia’s Tuesday night meal – including her routine once she comes home! I plan on showing this to my husband who loves eggs and avocado quite possibly even more than me!

  3. Heather in Arles Says:
    November 13th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Ah, I am in love with Symphony! And I don’t even love cats! And this is such a yummy Frenchy dinner–although I am a mega fan of casse-croute too… :)

  4. Lil Says:
    November 13th, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Yummy yummy! Need to add avocado on the next shopping list… And Symphony is adorable!

  5. Voie de Vie Says:
    November 13th, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Hey, finally something I already make on some weeknights! Although I haven’t sliced some avocado on the side, so I’ll definitely try that. Additionally, I usually add some grated cheese (whatever I have on hand) atop the poached eggs.

    And I’m with everyone else – Symphony is super cute!

  6. Kasia Dietz Says:
    November 13th, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    What a perfect (and simple) recipe! Considering how much I love avocados, I will indeed be making this at home.

    Inquiring minds like to know what this particular Aussie eats… (I’m a great fan of ‘bits & pieces’!)

    How adorable is Symphony!!

  7. Anne Says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 12:26 am

    My daughter’s reaction? “All my favorite things.” Actually I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t know how to poach an egg although I’ve been wanting to learn.

  8. CK Says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Thank you for this, Katia! The poached eggs look fabulous — almost as good as the beach! Now to top off the meal with some Peter’s Ice Cream for dessert …

  9. katy Says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 2:44 am

    That last picture of the egg on toast with the avocado slices in the background looks so inviting that I’m truly tempted to ignore everything I need to do tonight and poach some eggs instead.

    Alas, I think I will just have to save this for a post-conference treat!

  10. thyme (sarah) Says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Poached eggs on toast is our mainstay around here. Too tired for dinner? Poached egg on toast. Lunch? samie Breakfast…guess what. Never tire of it but haven’t thought to add avocado! Would add yummy creaminess

  11. Emma Says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 4:11 am

    Oh I love eggs on avocado and toast! I fry mine as I haven’t tackled poached eggs yet (I really must). And I’m all for easy weekday night dinners.

    I thought the first image was delicious enough then I saw the 2nd last one! Oh my. Great post Ann, it’s always lovely to read about new people :)

  12. Shut Up and Cook Says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Poached eggs are at the top of my scary to make foods like and yet I adore them…perhaps it’s time to try again! Can’t go wrong with the addition of avocado and toast to boot. Love the Tuesday series!

  13. Karene Says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I have had this exact dish for breakfast several times (being in So. Calif., avocados are easy to get). So delicious! But I won’t be able to convince the rest of my family to enjoy it for dinner, I’m afraid.

    I am loving this Tuesday dinner blog, and the pictures are great! My favorite so far is the penne and arugula dish–we are having it again for dinner tonight :)

    PS: I LOVE the France Project! (I can’t remember if I found about her from you, and about you from her. Either way, both of you are a joy.)

  14. Anne Raynaud Says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Enjoyed that more than any of the other Tuesday dinner posts, especially as only recently I came across (can’t remember where) the suggestion of avocado with toast and it is so good…

  15. Holly Says:
    November 15th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Poached egg over a toast is my kind of simple meal. Perfect for busy night’s quick fix. Lovely post, Ann! I love yorur Tuesday dinner idea!

  16. jeanne Says:
    November 15th, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    This looks amazingly delicious but like Karene, I know I can’t convince my husband that this is dinner. I will save it for a night when he is not home. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Ann Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Kathryn — Katia’s excellent cooking has me convinced that Australia is a nation of deliciousness. I can’t wait to visit!

    Lindsey — Isn’t Katia’s routine great? Husband, good food, kitty, TV — I think that’s pretty much what all of us want.

    Heather — And if you get tired of poached eggs, you have Rémi’s glorious-sounding omelette aux girolles – yum!

    Lil — And aren’t avocados in season right now? I’ve had some particularly delicious specimens lately.

    Voie de Vie — Ooh, a dusting of grated parmesan would be delicious on the poached eggs. Thanks for the idea!

    Kasia — Isn’t “bits and pieces” a wonderful meal? I even love the name. And it goes hand-in-hand with wine!

    Anne — Your daughter and I have a similar list of favorite things! Egg poaching is actually pretty simple — and I was surprised that the whites of the farm-fresh eggs set up so easily and beautifully. They really made a difference!

  18. Ann Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Katy — Oh, thank you! Taking that photo (instead of devouring) required a subhuman amount of willpower. ;)

    Thyme, Sarah — Can I come live at your house? Poached eggs at breakfast, lunch and dinner sounds like heaven!

    Emma — You know, I’m actually more intimidated by frying eggs than poaching them. I always break the yolk when flipping, or the white sticks to the pan. I think I need an Australian cooking lesson!

    Shut Up & Cook — Poached eggs are so satisfying and simple. I hope you do try them again soon!

    Karene — Oh, your comment is making me beam with happiness! I am thrilled you’re enjoying series and The France Project. Thank you!

    Anne R — Avocado with toast…. Now that’s a whole other delicious post. Yum.

    Holly — Thank you! I never knew there were so many poached egg fans before Katia’s post!

    Jeanne — It IS a light supper… but maybe you could sneak it in after a heavy lunch? C’est très francais!

  19. lapiubelladitutte Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I do have a question for you, how do you know when avocado is mature and you avoid finishing with an avocado stone instead? Siameses are kitties with a caracter and it shows!

  20. Gillian Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    another winner! and my vegetable guy downstairs always has good avocados. One weekday dinner next week sorted. (we had your sour cherry jam grilled cheese last night )

  21. Katia Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    What is extraordinary to me, Ann, is that everyone seems to find at least ONE thing in your Tuesday Dinner series that suits them! I love the range that it covers!
    I worried that this recipe was too simple, but as you said, this is getting back to the roots of what weeknight dinners are all about. Quick. No fuss. Leaving you time to do other, more important things, yet feeling satiated and comforted at the same time. I’m glad you all enjoyed it :)
    And Symphony was HONOURED to be included. As was I.

  22. Ann Says:
    November 19th, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    La piu bella di tutte — Ah, good question! Test the ripeness of the avocado by pushing gently on the ends of the fruit. If they give slightly (that is, it feels slightly soft), the avocado is ripe. If it’s hard like a rock, it’s not ripe — leave it on the counter for a day or two.

    Gillian — How wonderful to have a constant good source of avocados. Happy egg poaching! PS Your grilled cheese sounds SO GOOD. I’ve been eating the sour cherry jam on toast with cream cheese — it’s like a little cheesecake!

    Katia — Thank you SO MUCH for participating. I loved having you and everyone loved your recipe. You’ve got your finger on the zeitgeist, m’dear!

  23. Andi Says:
    December 1st, 2012 at 1:49 am

    I have never met an egg I didn’t love! I haven’t tried avocado with poached eggs, going to try that.

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