Poached Eggs with Smoked Provolone and Pistou

As I’ve mentioned before, my mother will be moving back to Shanghai this year — September 14th to be exact.  I’m picking her up from Houston this weekend where she will come to stay with me and Collin in Dallas before she goes home.

A bittersweet feeling for sure, the child in me screams “DON’T LEAVE! WHAT WILL I DO WITHOUT YOU?” but I know it’s for the best.  For years my mother has sacrificed her own personal happiness for mine, I could tell she always missed China.  Her food always evoked her longing — I remember as a child I’d always complain “AW MAN MA, CHINESE AGAIN??” But now I realize it was one of the few connections she had to home.

Week after week it was always something different — braised pork belly, sauteed peat shoots, tea smoked duck, herbal chicken soup — I lived like a king when it came to food, I knew I had it good.  Now that she’s leaving, I wanted to keep my mother behind with me, through her recipes.

I really look forward to learning traditional Chinese cuisine and at the same time exposing my mother to the different types of cuisines I make at home.  A month’s worth of cooking adventures with my mother in my new kitchen, can life be any better?  I can’t wait for everyone to meet her, she is truly the sweetest, cutest and the most talented lady I know.  You’ll see :)

I made this healthy breakfast over the weekend — I love poaching eggs because it’s a great alternative to frying and you still get the same delicate texture and of course the best part, the runny yolk.  I got my recipe from Epicurious and made a few minor changes — I used less oil and used Smoked Provolone.  I really enjoyed the addition of the Pistou, very bold in flavors but light in textures — a great breakfast for the summer.

Ingredients for Poached Eggs with Pistou: (serves 2)

  • 1/3 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 small garlic clove
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2-inch-thick slices french bread, toasted
  • Smoked Provolone cheese shavings

Puree basil, garlic, and oil in mini processor until very smooth. Season pistou to taste with salt and pepper.

Add enough water to medium skillet to measure 1 1/4 inches. Sprinkle salt generously into water. Bring water to simmer over medium heat. Crack eggs 1 at a time and gently slip into water. Cook until egg whites are just set and egg yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.

Place hot toasts on plates. Top each with Parmesan. Using slotted spoon, transfer 2 eggs, well drained, to each piece of brioche. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper. Drizzle with some of pistou and serve.


  1. Posted 9 Aug ’10 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I totally understand what you are feeling and your mom’s choice. Food is the only way we have to connect with our culture, our identity;
    this dish of eggs and pestou is delicious, light and refined.

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Thank you Joumana — you are completely right, it’s amazing the way food can shape us. Thank you for understanding :)

  2. Posted 9 Aug ’10 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    That looks so perfect! Poached is the only way I’ll eat eggs ;-) This is a great alternative to how I usually eat them! thx for sharing!

  3. Posted 9 Aug ’10 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I loved poached eggs, too. This is a wonderful breakfast, actually lunch or dinner, too.

    I’m excited for your mom’s stay and the special time you’ll spend with her in your kitchen that you’ll share with us. :-)

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Thank you Jean :) Yes I could definitely eat poached eggs any time of the day, some times the most simple things in life are the best. I can’t wait to show her all the people I follow online, I think she will be amazed!

  4. Posted 9 Aug ’10 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    i love simple foods and flavors like this

  5. Posted 9 Aug ’10 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Can’t wait to meet your Mom.
    Thanks for the Poached Egg Recipe. I am sure it’s great as it looks.

  6. Posted 9 Aug ’10 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Mmm, this sounds like something I would love to have! I too enjoy poaching eggs because I love the texture and the fresh taste of the egg sans frying oil etc. I am surprised though at how many folks have never poached an egg! They are really missing out! Can’t wait to see food from your mom! :)

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Thanks Amanda! I can’t wait to share with you guys, she is seriously an amazing cook :)

  7. Posted 9 Aug ’10 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Oh Joy, you can have my shoulders to cry on when your mom goes back to Shanghai! I know how you feel. Hope you will go and visit her more often in Shanghai. Maybe she will visit you often again next time, especially when the house is filled with little pitter patter :P Thanks for sharing such a simple but beautiful breakfast. I love that poached egg…one is not enough :D Hope you have a wonderful day. Enjoy your time with your mom before she goes back. Hugs. Mary

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Mary I thank you for your comfort, your recipes always remind me of my mother :) I will definitely be visiting Shanghai more often now that she’ll be living there, what better incentive! Hahaha it will be a few years before the pitter pattering but I will make the best out of every moment that she’s here. Thanks again for the words, you are so wonderful!

  8. Posted 9 Aug ’10 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Great photos! Looks delicious!

  9. Posted 9 Aug ’10 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely recipe! I can’t wait to try it. I’ve never poached eggs before, but it’s on my list of things to accomplish this year! Have fun with your mom!

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Thanks Sandi! I think once you try it you’ll never go back :)

  10. Posted 9 Aug ’10 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Looks delicious!! Poached egg is definitely my favorite breakfast!!

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Me too Reiko!! Thanks for the kind words :)

  11. Posted 9 Aug ’10 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    I think I need to poach some eggs this weekend. Looks GORGeous! I am such a sucker for googey eggs.

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Me too Penny! Gooey eggs go well with pretty much anything.

  12. Posted 10 Aug ’10 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Can’t wait to meet your mom Joy! And this dish looks amazing! I’m a sucker for poached eggs… I put them on anything I can (hamburgers, toast, blt’s, salads, seriously… anything!)

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      YES! The runny yolk just makes everything better, thanks for the kind words Peggy :)

  13. Posted 10 Aug ’10 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Beautiful pictures Joy! I could probably eat braised pork belly everyday for the rest of my life. Looking forward to following along and learn some awesome recipes!

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Pop! It really doesnt get better than braised pork belly :) , please to meet you.

  14. Posted 10 Aug ’10 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I totally understand wanting your mom to stay. Everytime I see her, I demand recipes.

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Hahaha I am going to write them all down so I don’t forget!

  15. Posted 10 Aug ’10 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Yum, poached eggs on toast with all your goodies, what a nice dish and so beautifully photographed, love all the colors!

  16. Posted 10 Aug ’10 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    A month in the kitchen with your mother sounds wonderful… I hope you’ll share a little bit of her teachings with us! I don’t know much about traditional Chinese cooking, aside from the fact that I really like to eat it. :)
    And speaking of things I like, can I just say how wonderful this recipe looks? I always order my eggs poached when I go out for brunch because it feels so much more “special” than regular fried or scrambled eggs, especially since I always screw up when I try to poach eggs at home. I think I’ll have to give it one last try, though, just so I can actually eat this dish instead of drooling over it.

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Haha Isabelle you made me chuckle — I always order poached eggs for brunch too and Collin always teased me about being high maintenanced, I am glad we get each other! One of the tips I was told about poaching eggs was using really fresh eggs and adding a bit of vinegar to the water to keep the egg from sticking. Thanks for the wonderful words and I will definitely be sharing the recipes my mother teaches me :) !

  17. Posted 10 Aug ’10 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    these are amazing photos!!

  18. Posted 11 Aug ’10 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous photos! Makes me feel like I can just reach out and take one of those! Looks just divine! Yum…

  19. Posted 11 Aug ’10 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    That’s why I love breakfast! Beautiful pictures!

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Breakfast is definitely not only the most important meal of the day but the best! :) Thank you for your kind words.

  20. Posted 11 Aug ’10 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Oh Joy, your mom is coming over soon! How wonderful that is! Making sure you have a fabulous time together. No doubt, you going to miss her terribly really really soon. So, time is precious… just appreciate every moment you spend together for the next few weeks. Have lots of fun, girl! Btw, your simple meal looks as warm as your heart. Enjoy your day!
    Blessings, kristy

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Kristy you are too kind :) I am really looking forward to her visit she always makes me laugh, I can’t wait to learn some recipes and of course, eat! I will definitely cherish each moment I have with her thank you for you wonderful words.

  21. Posted 11 Aug ’10 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Lovely post Joy. You know I have a soft spot to a mom and daughter relationship having daughters of my own. Glad to know you have a strong bond with your mom too. Something that you don’t see in most families today.
    Im sure she did enjoy this breakfast with you… and her food… yeah it’s her way to connect with home… food is definitely like a warm hug from home.


    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Malou you are so right, anytime I miss my mom I usually cook something she’s taught me to make and whenever I go home she cooks me wonderful dinners. DRATS! Now I’ll never get to eat her food after September -_-. Your daughters are lucky to have a wonderful mother like you Malou with your wonderful heart and wisdom AND you’re an awesome cook?? They will definitely grow up to be strong bright and beautiful women.

  22. Posted 11 Aug ’10 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I love how you talk about your mother, Joy – it is obvious you have a special relationship. The poached egg sounds perfect – I am not so great at poaching, but working on it – but I do love, love, love this type of dish!

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Thanks Laura– I am really looking forward to her visit! I am fortunate to have a wonderful mother like mine, if only Shanghai was a train ride away :)

  23. Posted 11 Aug ’10 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    i love eggs and these look great Joy xx

    • Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Thank you Betty! I very much enjoyed your pictures of the flowers btw, the textures and colors were amazing.

  24. Posted 12 Aug ’10 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    A very beautiful breakfast, and the photos are lovely :)

  25. Posted 13 Aug ’10 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    that reminds me of my mother. Why most mothers good cooks? Because they cook with love. How I wish I had a month with my mom, where I could learn all the traditional Indian recipes she is so famous for and I could give her an introduction to things she might have never never had! Woo!

    Your photographs are awesome Joy. And what a great morning it would be wake up to such great breakfast!

  26. Posted 19 Aug ’10 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Today you’re getting 3 comments from me because i haven’t visited for a while and i feel guilty. I wouldn’t feel guilty if i didn’t like your blog, but i really do. You brighten the whole blogosphere with your beautiful photography, recipes and upbeat/ inspirational writing.

    Now i feel a little less guilty. :)

  27. Posted 20 Aug ’10 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Joy, as always, this looks insane, I wish I was at the table with you guys. And I understand your mixed feelings about mom. Enjoy your time together.

  28. Posted 6 Oct ’10 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I think I’m in love…but don’t tell my wife…
    Amazing recipe, amazing photography. When my food blog grows up, it wants to be just like yours. But seriously, an incredible article and recipe. I just started baking home-made baguettes this year, so I will be trying this recipe out with those. I always feel like there aren’t enough poached eggs in my life. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one. Yes, I’m a newbie-foodie, but learning, or would that make me a foodie-in-training? Regardless, your site is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing the love.


One Trackback

  1. By Wick Rescue Blog on 15 Nov ’10 at 7:55 pm

    Smoked Provolone…

    [...] l the traditional Indian recipes she is so famous for and I could give her an in [...]…

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