One year ago I was living in North Carolina. I slept above a bakery, almost above the wood fired oven, in a small twin bed that I actually often miss now. My window looked out at the chimney from the oven. Some nights we would light the fire before we went to bed and my room would pick up the light scent of smoke, not strong and abrasive like a camp fire but soft, sweet, and earthy. It made my small room feel like a home, a cozy reprieve. I fell in love in that bakery, by that patch of nettles, by the river, in that kitchen that overlooked the little garden. I was there for three months but it felt like an eternal spring. Everything was blooming.
It’s not that things move at a different pace there, it’s that we moved at a different pace there. I resigned to the rhythms of the space. We picked up sticks for kindling and mopped the floors, fed the starter, made the lunches. I embraced the rhythm, the motions, the measures, the makings of days that slowly pass but quickly stacked together in my rear view mirror. I fell for that time in my life pretty hard and I look back at it now with rose colored glasses.
The processes I started there are ones I still hold onto. I set an intention to learn the in’s and out’s of whole grain sourdough focaccia and a year later I can say I’m still learning with each pan I make. Sometimes they’re topped, sometimes left plain with a sprinkle of seeds and some crunchy salt, destined to be a slab sandwich.
Part of my rhythm was making lunch for Tara’s baking workshops (they’re so much more than that). The salads disguised as focaccia sandwiches were my favorite to make, and even as that May melted into summer it still stuck with me as an endless spring. I think this sandwich matches that time pretty well: fresh and bright and full of all things young and new.
If you have some focaccia lying around you could set this sandwich up right there. If you have a roll or sliced bread, that will do too.
There are no set quantities for this sandwich because you can use as much as you’d like but for one sandwich I’d recommend:
2 tablespoons green sauce
2 eggs, sliced (they will be messy, it’d a good thing)
2 tablespoons oily roasted spring onions (make the entire bunch, or two, keep in the fridge in a jar with oil and use in pasta salads, salad dressings, on sandwiches…)
1/4 head of fennel or a handful or thin slices
1/2 cup chopped asparagus
lots of black pepper, a generous sprinkling of salt
Tossed in oil and roasted whole at 425
Chopped up and covered in oil in small jar
Soft boiled eggs
Fennel, thinly shaved on a mandolin
Asparagus, roasted and cut in thirds (toss in oil, roast at 425 until softened and browned)
Salt & black pepper
Spread the spring onions on one side and the green sauce on the other. Top the green sauce side with the sliced eggs, asparagus, and then fennel. Drizzle with olive oil and top with salt and pepper. Close the sandwich, cut in half (or not).
Jammy (Soft-Boiled) Eggs
Bring a pot of water to a boil. You want plenty of room so the eggs are not touching, and are fully surrounded by the water. You can use a small pot for 1-3 eggs and something larger for any more.
Turn down slightly to a soft boil / simmer.
Carefully lower in the eggs with a large spoon. Set a 6 minute timer. Set it for 7 mins if you’re doing more than 4 eggs.
While they're boiling, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice.
When the timer goes off, remove the eggs and immediately place in the ice bath. This stops the cooking so the yolks don't overcook.
Let cool for a few mins, then peel and eat! If you're having trouble peeling the shell, try it under cold running water in the sink.