About the Recipe
Viola (Yolanda) Perin Trigiani, my paternal grandmother, was a force of nature. Like most girls born in the first decade of the last century, she came of age in the Roaring Twenties. She went to work, bobbed her hair, and had a career, a husband, and a home. Viola believed you could have anything you wanted, you just had to set a goal and work for it.
She had a garden and close to 6 acres to take care of. She was 60 when my grandfather died and took over where he left off. She’d mow, prune trees, weed, and grow grapes and tomatoes. She was an expert baker and cook. She had her greatest hits of course, and my favorite is a farm luncheon she would serve when we came in from our chores. This dish reminds me of summers spent with my grandmother, which are now some of my favorite memories.
There are variations of this dish in every region of Italy, but since she hailed from Veneto, we named it Venetian eggs. It may be my favorite meal. Pair it with crusty Italian bread and a glass of hearty red wine and you’ll be able to mow the back nine yourself after lunch.
Dressing for greens:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Ingredients for Eggs:
4 cups tomato sauce (you can use your Sunday gravy, or…one can of peeled uncrushed tomatoes, three cloves of minced garlic, half a stick of butter, and simmer the mixture on the stove until the garlic is glassy and the tomatoes bubble around the edges of the skillet)
4 cups fresh arugula
4 cups baby spinach
Dandelion greens (You don’t need to use dandelion, but we foraged for dandelion, and Grandmom served it to us as part of this dish. Dandelion is sharp and spicy- and she said it was also loaded with vitamins we needed.)
2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
In a bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients and set aside.
In a skillet, ladle in the tomato sauce (if you made your own above, it’s good to go!) Heat on medium until the sauce begins to bubble on the edges.
Make a well in the sauce and crack one egg into the well
Follow the same steps with the remaining eggs.
While the eggs are poaching to your liking, toss the greens with the dressing.
Arrange the greens in the center of a dinner plate.
When the eggs are done, ladle on onto the fresh greens.
Sprinkle fresh parmesan on the eggs, a little salt, and pepper, and serve.
Optional: some folks like a spicy tomato sauce- and so, if you like, throw a smidge of red pepper flakes into the sauce above. It will give you the kick you like.