It was some time ago that the Boy and I visited Sqirl, a hipster-trendy breakfast spot in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. I harbor deep, fond memories of my luscious toast and the Boy’s tangy sorrel rice bowl, so when I came across the recipe for the latter on Tasting Table, it was immediately bookmarked.
Of course, it took me a long time to actually make the bowl, because it seemed like it had a lot of components and the ingredient list had things on it that I was pretty sure went beyond the offerings of my neighborhood grocery store. And I was right about that last part. However, despite that, it turned out that with a few substitutions this wasn’t actually a difficult meal to pull together on a weeknight – and I’m apparently on a bowl kick, so who am I to fight it?
First ingredient issue: preserved lemons. A quick internet search led me to fake it by thinly slicing a fresh lemon and sautéing it with olive oil, salt, and sugar. This worked remarkably well!
I also lacked sorrel (and I used to have it in my childhood garden…damn), so I subbed in spinach in the sorrel pesto and added some extra lemon juice for tartness. The pesto takes a quick whirl in a food processor and then gets mixed into rice with the preserved lemon and some dill.
Yes, I made another GIF. I may or may not be super proud of my GIF-making skills. Plus you can see how the bowl comes together: fancy rice with pesto, hot sauce, poached egg, radishes, feta. Yumminess.
Sqirl Rice Bowl
Adapted from Tasting Table’s adaptation of Jessica Koslow’s recipe.
Even with all my substitutions, this was delicious (and the real bowl is even better). The flexibility is awesome, but make sure you preserve the variety of flavors, especially the tang, which is key. I do think sorrel would be better than spinach, so if you have it available, go for it. And don’t be intimidated! This is actually not that hard to throw together.
Yield: One Rice Bowl (plus extra pesto)
One bunch of fresh spinach or sorrel, cleaned and stems removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon juice
1 cup cooked medium-grain white rice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
One preserved lemon, chopped (see body of post for a substitute)
Good-quality hot sauce
¼ cup sheep’s milk feta, crumbled
One radish, thinly sliced
Make the pesto: Take the spinach leaves and blend in a food processor with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice (more if using spinach), and salt and pepper to taste, until a thick paste forms.
In a medium mixing bowl, add 1 cup of the cooked rice, the chopped dill, preserved lemon and a tablespoon of pesto. Mix until thoroughly combined. Season with salt to taste and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with several dashes of hot sauce.
Poach the egg: In a medium saucepan set over high heat, add water. Once it comes to a low simmer, reduce the heat to medium-high and use a slotted spoon to stir the very center of the mixture, creating a whirlpool-like effect. Crack the egg into a small bowl and gently slip it into the center of the whirlpool. Poach the egg until the whites are set and the yolk is still soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the egg to one side of the rice bowl.