Froached egg with chile breadcrumbs

What is a froached egg? Surely you jest. Have you been living under a rock? On second thought, don’t answer that. What, you looked froached up in the dictionary and there is no such word? You type it out and one of those annoying red lines comes up under it, indicating it’s misspelled?

But search ye ole world wide web and you’ll see that froaching (let’s go ahead and make it into a verb) is a cross between a fried egg and a poached egg. (Fr) ied+ p (oach) = Froach. So there.

Now, you can buy yourself some fancy, city slicker kit to froach your eggs or you can do like we do here at Chile Trail HQ and use a slice of bread. Yep, a slice of bread. Cut a ring out and cook your egg inside it. Better yet, turn the round into some bread crumbs and give them a hit of chile and top your eggs with those and you’re talking the real deal.

We’re not saying this is going to be the answer to all your problems. We can’t do anything about your commute, your teenage daughter’s phone bill or your taxes (you did pay that bill, didn’t you?). But we sure as shoot have breakfast covered.

1 slice bread

1 egg

1 Tbsp parsley

1 tsp lemon zest

¼ tsp chile pequin

olive oil


Optional garnishes (but c’mon, you know you want them)

Crumbled feta cheese

Chopped green onions

Sliced avocado

More chile pequin, naturally

Note: This recipe serves one but you can double, triple, etc to your heart’s content

Take a 3” ring and cut a round from the center of your slice of bread. Toast the round until crispy and then crumble into bread crumbs. Combine with the parsley, lemon zest, chile pequin, a dash of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and set aside.

Brush both sides of the slice (with the hole cut out) with olive oil. Heat a small, non-stick frying pan and cook the bread on one side for a minute or two over medium heat. Turn, crack the egg and place in the round. Cook until the white is solid but the yolk still runny – about 4 or 5 minutes.

Gently remove from the pan and top with the garnishes of your choice, including, of course, some extra chile pequin.

Pink grapefruit, avocado & feta salad with a chile vinaigrette

Do remind me what you give for a first anniversary? Ah yes, of course paper – the ultimate romantic gift. To keep it practical, why not give a roll of paper towels or an old newspaper? The ‘modern’ option is a clock. Wow. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a clock.

Why all this chat about first anniversary gifts? Because reader, next month is the anniversary of the announcement of Mike Smith’s ‘discovery’. Yes, Mike Smith from Denbighshire in England. You remember Mike, don’t you?

You don’t? Oh dear…Well let me refresh your memory. Mike from Denbighshire created the hottest chile ever recorded. It’s all coming back to you now, isn’t it?

Mike wasn’t out to create something super hot – he was after a pretty plant for his Chelsea Flower Show display. But his ‘Dragon’s Breath’ chile scores 2.48 million on the Scoville heat index – beating the Carolina Reaper, that clocks in at a cool – pardon the pun – 2.2 million.

Scientist figure that Dragon’s Breath is so hot that if you ate one you could go into anaphylactic shock. I’m going to trust them on this one. Here’s the thing – more heat isn’t always better. At the Chile Trail we’re all about heat but we’re also all about the food. If it’s too hot and you can’t taste anything then what’s the point?

Take this cute as a bug salad we whipped up. It’s got mild chile molido in the dressing and a sprinkle of chile pequin on top. Is it hot? Yes. Can you make it hotter? Darn straight you can – just add some more or use our hot chile molido instead. But it’s not so hot that you lose the flavor of the pink grapefruit, avocado and feta cheese. So congrats Mike from Denbighshire. We’ll be sending over a congratulatory paper plate to celebrate.

But the Dragon’s Breath chile? We’ll pass, but thanks anyway.

Serves 3-4 as a side salad

4 large handfuls of lettuce, washed

1 pink grapefruit

3 oz feta cheese, crumbled

½ avocado, sliced thinly

3 Tbsp lime juice

½ tsp mild chile molido

4+ Tbsp vegetable oil

chile pequin, to garnish

To segment the grapefruit, take a thin slice off the top and bottom, so the grapefruit can sit on a chopping board. Take a sharp knife and slice off the skin and white pith by cutting along the curve of the grapefruit. Next, make v-shaped cuts to release the grapefruit segments. When you’re cutting the segments out, hold over a bowl so you can capture any juice.

To make the dressing, mix the lime juice, chile molido and vegetable oil together, along with any grapefruit juice. Taste, add salt and a bit more oil if the dressing is too sour.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter. Top with the grapefruit segments, feta cheese and avocado. Garnish generously with the chile pequin and drizzle the dressing over the salad. Serve any extra vinaigrette on the side.





Foodie Friends: Maria Elia

It was a quiet start…a tiny operation called Meco & Elia that Maria Elia ran with her partner. Meco handled front of the house (mainly opening the door) while Maria created the menus, took the orders, cooked the food, and presented the bill (cash only).


Not bad when you consider that Maria was six, Meco was Mitzi her half Jack Russell/half Poodle dog and the customers were Maria’s parents. And not surprising that Maria knew she wanted to cook from an early age. She grew up in the restaurant business (her Greek father ran his own restaurant in London) and remembers being four years old and standing on a stool so she could toss potatoes into the rumbler (“It wasn’t exactly health and safety,” she says with a laugh.).


Today, Maria is one of the most exciting chefs and food writers on the scene. She lives in London but has cooked around the world and published two great books (a third is due out in the Fall). What makes her food so exciting is that she takes interesting ingredients and gives them a completely fresh and unexpected twist.

I loved her first book – The Modern Vegetarian – because unlike some veggie books you genuinely don’t miss the meat. The vegetable is the hero and the recipes are amazing. Take miso – a Japanese staple – which goes Greek in her Miso-marinated kataifi-wrapped eggplant. Or how she pairs sweet strawberries with bitter radicchio for her Griddled Radicchio and Strawberry Risotto. The combinations are unusual but they’re not way out – they work.

Maria likes to start with an ingredient – maybe one that evokes a strong memory for her – and then take it on a flavor journey to see where it can go. She often creates a mind map on paper to explore the different connections that a single food can make. In her second book, Full of Flavor: How to Create Like a Chef, she takes 18 different ingredients and spins out lots of different flavor combinations for each one. The results are dazzling.


Chile Roasted Feta and Watermelon Slab

The contrasts in this recipe are wonderful; I love the warmth of the feta and the heat from the chile against the cold sweet watermelon. The dressing is great with white beans, crumbled feta and some lettuce leaves. Or, if you prefer to keep it simple, just use a little lemon-infused olive oil to dress the watermelon. Perfect as an appetizer or light lunch.

Serves 4

4 evenly sized blocks of feta cheese (approximately 2 ½ oz each)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp chile flakes
1 container cilantro sprouts (optional)
1 container shiso sprouts (optional)
1 ½ – 2 oz mizuna or baby salad leaves
3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts (optional)
Raisin and Oregano dressing
4 pieces watermelon, cut into slightly larger rectangles than the feta, each approximately ½” high and chilled
olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 375°. Cut a large piece of foil and put it on a baking tray. Place each piece of feta on top, drizzle each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with a few chile flakes. Put another piece of foil on top and fold the foil edges together to form a loose parcel. Place in the oven and cook for 8 minutes, by which time the feta will be soft and warm. (You can prepare the feta in advance but if you take it straight from the fridge you will need to double the cooking time.)

Remove from the oven and assemble immediately; snip the cilantro and shiso sprouts (if using) and mix with the baby leaves and pine nuts (if using). Dress with a little of the Raisin and Oregano Dressing and pile neatly on top of the chilled watermelon slabs.

Open the parcel and place the roasted feta on top of the salad leaves. Drizzle with the olive oil and serve immediately.

Raisin oregano dressing

2 oz raisins
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 small shallots, finely chopped
¼ cup Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
5 drops of green Tabasco sauce or 3 of red will do
Finely grated zest of approx ¼ of an orange plus 1 Tbsp of juice
¼ cup olive oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp finely chopped oregano

Soak the raisins in hot water till plump approximately 10 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and pulse one-third with a hand blender/liquidize. Mix together stirring in the orange zest and juice and season with a pinch of sea salt

Store in the refrigerator until required.