Poached eggs with ’nduja butter and spinach recipe

March 18, 2024

Calabrian ’nduja (spreadable pork sausage) is fiery, fruity and salty. Ideal with eggs, then. It mellows a little once incorporated into melted butter – although admittedly that is still a rich combination; even more so when joined by molten egg yolk. But there’s balance here, with the ooze offset by the purity of the poached whites, plus a soft bed of spinach and English muffins, which soak everything up. Glorious.


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 16 minutes




  • 35g ’nduja
  • 20g unsalted butter, plus extra for the muffins
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 2 English muffins, halved and toasted
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tbsp white-wine vinegar


  1. Gently melt the and butter together in a small saucepan over a very low heat. Prod and stir until combined. The sauce should be loose and glossy – don’t let this boil or fry, otherwise the pork in the ’nduja hardens and the butter and sauce will split. Remove from direct heat while you assemble the other components.
  2. Wilt the spinach in a large sauté or frying pan set over a medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of water to encourage the cooking process (no need for butter or oil – there’s enough already in this dish). Once cooked, squeeze away any excess liquid. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, toast and butter the muffins and poach the eggs. Fill a medium saucepan with water to a depth of 10cm or so. Bring that water to a confident simmer, then reduce the temperature so the water is what I call ‘near simmering’ (ie there’s a regular stream of fine bubbles and you know instinctively that it wouldn’t take much more heat to generate a rolling boil). Add the white-wine vinegar.
  4. Break an egg into a small, shallow bowl or ramekin. Swirl the handle of a wooden spoon (or similar) in the pan of water in rapid circles to create a vortex. With the bowl or ramekin virtually touching the water, tip the egg into the centre.
  5. Swirl the spoon handle round the edge of the pan to keep the vortex going. After 10 seconds or so, add a second egg. (If you feel confident enough to cook more than two eggs at once, go for it. If not, two at a time is optimum; the first set will be fine to hang around for 2-3 minutes more, although you could also pop them back into the water to warm up for 15 seconds when the second set is nearly ready.)
  6. It takes 2½-3 minutes for the whites to become opaque and firm. During that time, pay attention to the water temperature (small bubbles, nothing more). Between 30 and 90 seconds, use a slotted spoon to encourage the albumen to stay close to the eggs.
  7. Line a plate or shallow bowl with a piece of kitchen paper or absorbent cloth. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs from the saucepan to the plate to soak up excess water. Trim any scraggly whites (if there are any).
  8. To serve, top the toasted muffins with mounds of spinach and the poached eggs.
  9. Give the ’nduja butter a good stir, then spoon over the top.

Recipe from Good Eggs by Ed Smith (Quadrille, £22)

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