I've been a little obsessed with arugula since Kenny & I ate breakfast at Mission Beach Cafe. It was opened about a year and a half ago by Ryan Scott who was a contestant (ahem, chef-testant!) on Top Chef season 4. But, I just looked at their website and it looks like they've got a new chef there now. Anyway, it's right on the corner of 14th & Guerrero, which is where we lived when I first moved out here.
It was the morning of Bay to Breakers, so we were looking to escape our neighborhood (the Lower Haight) before it became plagued by drunks in costume. We quickly ran through and rejected all our usual brunch spots and decided to just start wandering away from the crowds. I remembered Mission Beach Cafe, figured it wouldn't be crowded so we walked over and got a seat right away.
I couldn't decide between the huevos rancheros or the warm breakfast salad. Both featured poached eggs, which I was having a serious craving for. I still couldn't decide when the waiter came to take our order so I asked the waiter to make up my mind for me and he told me to order the huevos rancheros.
They were incredible! Perfectly cooked eggs, delicious beans and sauce, and... the best part: tiny little leaves of baby arugula. Since we've been eating seasonally, it had been a few months since I had a taste of delicious peppery arugula and it was like heaven in my mouth. One of those Goddamn moments. Goddamn, I just remembered I love arugula!
We're still waiting on arugula to start showing up in our box but thankfully my co-worker Paul hooked me up with a big bag of arugula from his father's garden. As I was crouched down cutting leaves off his huge arugula plant, I was already plotting this dish. Hells yeah, arugula and poached eggs!
4 strips bacon (The best bacon in the world from the Fatted Calf)
1 bunch arugula
1/2 an onion, diced
4 slices Acme sour batard (sorry South Philly, this isn't your Ack-a-mee)
a dollop of creme fraiche, for garnish (we used Cowgirl Creamery, made with local, organic Strauss Creamery milk, it's amazing!)
Fill a deep pan with about 1 1/2" of water and get it boiling. Cook the bacon in a non-stick pan as you like it. I like my bacon a little bit chewy. Especially this Fatted Calf bacon, you gotta respect the bacon and not burn all the flavor out of it! Remove just when it starts to crisp and set aside on some paper towels to blot the grease. Add the onions to the hot pan of bacon grease and cook until they are tender. When the water is boiling, poach the eggs until the whites are cooked through, should only be a few minutes. Meanwhile, add the arugula to the pan with the onion and bacon grease, as toss until it wilts. Oh, throw the bread in a toaster oven too! The recipe is pretty fast and easy but it takes some skill to get the timing of everything right. When the eggs are ready, plate the toast, then the arugula, two strips of bacon and top with two eggs. Add a small dollop of creme fraiche for extra decadence!