A farm tour and a recipe for yellow lentil cakes with poached eggs

About a year ago, I stumbled upon Fig & Fauna, a blog that chronicles the life of a family farm. As I learned more and more about them, I couldn’t believe they actually lived so close to us and that we had never crossed paths. I am sure we did, at Whole Foods or at the farmers’ market where we always shop, but we had never met. It was then when I reached out to Megan with enthusiasm and thrilled to witness what Fig & Fauna was all about. I visited the farm with Jon and Miren in the Spring. Remember the stormy afternoon we spent there with the chickens and the bees?

Megan and I stayed in touch after that day – we knew we had to collaborate in some way.

There was lots of curiosity from the community regarding their organic growing practices, their urban chicken coop and how they raise cows and hogs, so Megan and her husband Michael decided to open their farm to the public and show everyone their philosophy and technique. Megan asked if I could join in the fun with a food styling demo and a book signing, which I happily accepted.

So this past December, right before Christmas, we all got together for a morning in the sun surrounded by growing tomatoes, chickens, goats, cows, hogs and children running around in joy.

Megan and Michael’s daughter Dane was the perfect hostess for Jon and Miren. It’s amazing to witness her confidence and ease around the animals. She showed them how baby rabbits nurse on their mother, how to collect eggs, and harvest only the ripe vegetables.

They played hide and seek in the chicken coop and brought the freshly laid eggs into the kitchen.

Michael arranged a craft table for all the children to decorate salt dough ornaments that Megan had baked for Christmas. So much creativity in this family.

After the farm tour, I set up a table outside where I demonstrated a simple salad from my book with yellow lentils, Serrano ham, berries, and arugula from Megan’s garden. I talked about my philosophy and a few tips on how to style dishes for camera. However, I have to admit, it was so hot that even freshly cut greens wilted in a matter of seconds. We managed though and received many inquires from people, which is always a sign of interest. I was happy to share my sources for specialty foods, gluten-free baking techniques, and the like. I also signed some books and enjoyed meeting those who have followed the blog since almost the beginning, which is always so amazing to me. My friend Trina even flew down from NYC for the day, which was such an honor.

I ended my presentation with a sweet note – mini chocolate and buckwheat cupcakes with vanilla bean and fleur de sel cream, pistachio and vanilla bean shortbreads (both from Small Plates and Sweet Treats), and brown butter, chocolate and hazelnut cookies.

I feel everyone left with a bundle of knowledge and many new ideas in their heads.

Inspired.

So a big thank you to Michael, Megan, and Dane for opening their home to us and sharing so much.

Back at home, with my leftover lentils and all the eggs the children had collected, my mom and I made these little yellow lentil and herb cakes that we served with poached eggs. A small appetizer or a main course depending on how much you would like to serve.

Also lots of roasted root vegetables – striped beets, pink turnips, watermelon radishes and also fennel. Some olive oil, crunchy salt, black pepper and 400F until tender.

I loved mine with a touch of aioli and extra sea salt on top.

Yes, I am a salt fiend indeed.


Yellow lentil cakes with poached eggs

makes 12 cakes

3/4 cup (165 g) yellow lentils, rinsed three times in cold water and drained
1 tsp fine sea salt, plus more for the eggs
6 eggs (4 are to poach)
1/3 cup (25 g) gluten-free panko-style breadcrumbs (you can make them yourself by grinding dry bread in food processor)
1 medium green onion, sliced into thin pieces
3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (I used chives and chervil)
1 ounce (30 g) finely grated Idiazabal cheese (you can use Manchego or Parmesan)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Red peppercorns, to top the eggs

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and add the yellow lentils. Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes until tender, but not too mushy. Drain the lentils and transfer to a large bowl.

Lightly whisk 2 of the eggs and add to the lentils along with the breadcrumbs, green onion, chopped herbs, Idiazabal, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Stir to combine. Take about 1/4 cup of mixture, roll into balls and then gently flatten the ball slightly to form the cakes.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and add the lentil cakes to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes on each side or until the cakes take on a golden brown color. Turn the cakes over and finish cooking on the other side. Finish cooking all the cakes and keep them in a heated oven or warming drawer.

In the meantime, fill a medium saucepan with about 5 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat and add the white wine vinegar. Crack the eggs into a clean shallow bowl. With the help of a wooden spoon, stir the water in a circular motion and as the water is swirling, gently add the eggs in the water. Make sure the water is boiling lightly but we don’t want it to boil too briskly. Reduce heat if needed. With a slotted spoon, turn the eggs slightly so the egg white encases the yolk. Cook for approximately 2 to 3 minutes until the white is cooked but the yolk is still liquid. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain the excess water. Serve them immediately over the lentil cakes and sprinkle a bit more sea salt on top and some red peppercorn flakes..

The lentil cakes can also be frozen and heated in the oven.


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77 Responses to “A farm tour and a recipe for yellow lentil cakes with poached eggs”

  1. Lovely and inspiring… no other words for your photographs and recipe. I will hardly find yellow lentils, as here in Italy we only have red ones. But I’ll try to make “Polpette di lenticchie” (that is lentil-balls) anyway… Ciao!

    Sabrine

    • Aran says:

      Sabrine,

      Red lentils would work great too. I think many grains like millet, brown rice, quinoa… Thank you!

    • Roberta says:

      Ciao Sabrina,

      ti scrivo solo per dirti che le lenticchie rosse sono perfette, non so se hai già provato, tenendo la stessa quantità indicata da Aran.

      Hi Sabrina, just a quick note to tell you that red lentils work great too, I used the same quantity provided for yellow ones by Aran and it turned out perfect.

      Ciao

      Roberta

  2. Sarah says:

    What a lovely little farm! Must try this recipe, it looks delish!! Thank you.

  3. Sarah says:

    I love Fig and Fauna and their beautiful approach to farm life, home and family. The combination of the both of you is something I would have love to been there for. I find both of you to be so inspiring. And though I don’t eat meat, I have been able to adapt many of your recipes. Probably because I believe in freshly grown, hand picked foods and you both seem to believe that to be an important part of the joy of preparing meals for your families also.

    I really have enjoyed your book….the photos are stunning.

    Sarah

  4. Elisa says:

    Beautiful photos and text, as ever :) I’ve discovered Fig&Fauna’s blog through yours and I love it; their life style is so inspiring, to me: it shows how you can build not only an environmentally ( and humanly also, let’s say )- friendly life style, but a beautiful one also; and I think it demonstrates that this kind of life is not only about labour ( a lot of labour, of course ) but about beauty and reward also, something that a urban person like me tends to forger. It’s the kind of life I would construct for my own family, if I were more brave! :)
    The children look so comfortable in such an environment! So lucky, they are.
    These salt dough figurines remember me of my childhood; my mother mastered it so well, that some of hers kept for years; I still remember a little bear on the chimney shelf, at my grandparents’ house. So pretty.
    However, never tried yellow lentils, even if I love lentils; hope to find them one day! These patties in fact seem so delicious.
    I think I will borrow the definition ” salt fiend ” for myself :) even if I don’t add it to my dishes with an easy hand, I always like for the flavours to be strong. And, however, my relatives tend to consider me in fact a salt fiend. Tastes, I suppose.
    Ah, we’re going to make your peas, zucchini and watercress soup this evening :) a staple in my house.

    • Aran says:

      Elisa, so beautifully said “it’s not only about labor but about beauty”. Yes, I think that very much defines their philosophy and mine too. Taking pleasure in everyday life details and not only saving them for special occasions. Megan will be happy to read that. :)

      • Elisa says:

        Happy to give some kind of happiness :) and, love your definition ” taking pleasure in everyday life details and not only saving them for special occasions “, it is exactly the way I strive to live my life too ( not always easy, in our world ). I think it’s in fact the very thing that leads me in the kitchen. So much flavour, good smells, relaxation for the senses, and a bit of happiness for everyone, achieved with such a simple gesture :) I think you know too what I’m talking about.
        And thank you also for always answering to every comment! We readers really appreciate this :)

  5. Sheila says:

    Absolutely beautiful, as always. Farms like this are always incredibly inspiring, showing life, food, and happiness as they should be. I love the photo of the cows playing! What a great catch!

  6. Lentil cakes sound so fabulous and super healthy as well. I love seeing these amazing photos of the farm. They really tell such a wonderful story.

  7. Such a beautiful farm. And dough ornaments are so fun to make and surprisingly sturdy! I made some bird-shaped ones with my mother years ago and they’re all still intact. The lentil cake sounds and looks wonderful, too.

  8. What a gorgeous post, and a day I wish I could have shared. Thanks to your post a few months ago, I have discovered and fallen in love with Fig & Fauna, and visiting their farm and meeting Megan and her family would alone justify a trip to Florida! Beautiful images once again, full of poetry. As for those lentil cakes with the poached egg, they are making me salivate.

  9. Hi Aran, your farm photos are gorgeous. I love the one of the goat staring at you with it’s cheeky face. What a great day you must have had. I am going to try your recipe with a can of red lentils that I have had sitting in the pantry for ages. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Do you have a mushroom risotto recipe that you would like to share? I was given a small bottle of white truffle infused olive oil at Christmas and want to make the best use of it. I looked on the internet, but there are so many different recipes and they seem to contradict each other on how a risotto should be made. I don’t think it should be so complicated. At least I hope it isn’t.

    Love Rose xxx

  10. I’ve never seen lentils, which I’m a big fan of, cooked like this. It looks so good and healthy.

    By the way, did you craft the yarn basket with the small bottle yourself? I make something like this, only with a much larger needle.

  11. It looks like such a wonderful day! Hard to imagine all the green and warm sun on the farm, since yesterday the high temp was 5 degrees Fahrenheit in Colorado! I like to cook with lentils and look forward to trying your lentil cakes!

  12. Itxaso says:

    Ze polite… zelako granja polite izin behadan. Blogean be ikusten da dana gustuegaz eta polito iten dauriela, ke maravilla!

    • Aran says:

      Leku ederra da benetan eta eurek oso majoak eta kristolako gustoa dekie. Zuek zelan?

      • Itxaso says:

        Gu ondo, hemekora ohituten barriro (batez be ni), baia pozik. Ezkontza bat dekot ekainean eta joan gure dot barriro harantza, ikusikogu. Zuek badekozue asmorik Ehrantza joateko? Igual aurten agendea beteta ezta? Bueno, hori be ondo dau. Zelako momentu onean zauzen, asi ke disfrutau! Mosu handi bet eta gorantziek danori.

  13. Julie says:

    I love the Martins – they are such an amazing family! This sounds like the most perfect of days, I am sure their farm has evolved into something very special since we were last there. Wonderful that you two lovely ladies can be so close!

  14. I was so happy to receive your blog post today. The lentil cakes look amazing. I can not wait to try them. When I first saw your blog I scanned through it quickly. Then I googled Fig and Fauna….I was delighted to realize that I know Michael Martin from On Blonde. I will stop by and visit Michael. I need to make a trip to their farm. Thank you for the beautiful post and sharing. What a small world. I hope your trip to NYC was a success.

  15. Brad Gelfond says:

    Great recipe!! Loved these lentil cakes, so did the whole family!! Couldn’t find yellow lentils, so I used orange and they were fine.

  16. Your basil is fantastic! If you use it for homemade pesto, it must taste heavenly!

  17. Bennett says:

    My coworker sent me this page. I love the lentil cakes, but when I try poaching eggs, and the white surrounds the yolk, I can never tell if the yolk is still liquid and so I invariably get 1) some solid white, but a lot of it too liquidy squishy under the solid exterior, or 2) a solid yolk (which frankly I don’t mind so much).

  18. Virginia says:

    Precioso y muy interesante como siempre y tus ninos están guapísimos, como crecen!!!
    Muxus from Donosti en vísperas de la tamborrada ;)

  19. Caroline Crisp says:

    Hi Aran! Thanks for the beauty and inspiration.

  20. muscade says:

    I tried this recipe this morning for brunch with friends. It was really good :-) I live in Montreal but unfortunately I could not make it for any of your events this week-end… I hope I’ll be able next time.
    I use the occasion to tell how much I love your blog, your pictures and stories. This is so fresh and inspiring.
    Magnifique ! :-)

  21. Desiree says:

    Aran, this is so great :) It was so neat to meet Megan at your Anthro book signing and I love the collaboration going on. Thanks for all the amazing foodie inspiration – lots of yummy things being made in our household here in WPB! xo

  22. Elise says:

    Love the photos of the farm tour. It was great getting to meet you and Megan. I also posted some photos of the farm on my blog would love for you to see them.

  23. Kaixo guapa!!! Solo decirte que me encanta tu página!!! Love it!!! Yo tb soy una baskita viviendo en el otro lado del charco (Holmes, NY) Love your stuff!!
    Musu handi bat eta agurrak NYtik!! :)

  24. Jo says:

    I absolutely love your website, recipes, the pictures, design of your site, …I just want to jump into the pictures and share the experience. Thank you for sharing all these years!

  25. Katie says:

    How inspiring this location is. And what a fun time I’m sure you all had. I will send her this post. Of course your photography makes it all come alive. My friend was just asking me for inspiration for the lentils she had in her pantry. I hope you come up to Vermont (or near) sometime soon, so I can have you sign my copy of your book.

  26. Amy says:

    Beautiful post. Your photography and your writing are just lovely. It makes me long for that kind of life. Thank you for sharing.

  27. Your pictures, as usual, are breathtaking in their simplicity. They stand on their own. If ever you are in my neck of the woods, in the Basque Country, I would love to meet you.
    Euskal Herritik, Agur :)

  28. Adrian says:

    You never mention the husband anymore—it’s always you and the children travelling and don’t even include him in your “about” description. Just wondering if divorce is why you’re moving to Seattle? Best wishes.

  29. Roberta says:

    Hi! I haven’t visited for a long time, but your photos and recipe ideas are stunning as ever!
    I love lentil (or whatever-the-bean) cakes!
    Have to try this!

  30. Nora says:

    Hi Ayan,

    Should I freeze the cakes before cooking them or after?

    Thanks.

  31. Nora says:

    Apologies for the typo, Aran!

  32. Ang says:

    Wow. Those lentil cakes look incredibly good! Thanks for sharing!

  33. Kasey says:

    I love Megan and isn’t her house amazing.

  34. Roberta says:

    Hi Aran

    I tried the recipe and the lentils cakes turned out super good, my daughter loved them!!!
    the only thing that went wrong was the poached egg part…
    the yolk was perfectly cooked (hard outside, creamy inside) but instead of being surrounded by albumen it was lost in a foggy water…

    any clue? maybe a swirled the water to much?
    thanks for your attention
    Roberta

  35. Your recipe looks GREAT! Can’t wait to try it!
    I also always have poaching issues, but I’ll get it at some point.

    Eskerrik asko,
    Charlene

  36. Stacy says:

    I love your pictures and your lentil and poached eggs recipe. I adapted it slightly because I had leftover lentils and mashed potatoes, but no rice. So with your measurements as a guide I substituted the potatoes for the rice and I used cornmeal mix in place of bread crumbs. We like curry powder, so I added a little bit of that too. They came out great! The lentil cakes were a perfect platform for the poached eggs. We really enjoyed our breakfast today. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Stacy says:

      I meant to say I didn’t have cheese, so I substituted the potatoes and curry powder for the cheese. The first few fell apart when I turned them, so I kept the lid on the pan, and that cooked them better so they stayed together after that.

      My husband said we could easily make these in miniature and serve them with a creamy chutney dipping sauce for party appetizers. They keep their flavor at room temperature. Better than samosas!

  37. […] here is a great Lentil cakes recipe. I made mine with dill and […]

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