Green Eggs and Ham

If you can’t do crazy things in the kitchen, what’s the point? This is for the little kid in all of us.

Dr Seuss was my sort of story-book writer. Behind all the jokes and images, a gentle dig in the ribs. A reminder of the possibilities available on a path somewhere to the left of the beaten track. Take Green eggs and ham! I think I’ve read the story 10 000 times, and there are still the insatiable needs of two more kids to cope with. You know the yarn – there’s a little bloke trying to convince a big bloke to try what is clearly a delicacy for the one, a nonsense for the other. It’s a common tale around many tables. Says the big bloke:

I do not like green eggs and ham
I do not like them Sam I am …
I would not eat them here or there
I would not eat them anywhere.

On and on it goes in the late doc’s nonsensical and whimsical style, and in the end the big fella sees the light, and goes for the green eggs and ham with the passion of one converted to the cause.

If you will let me be
I will try them you will see Sam …
I like green eggs and ham
I do, I like them, Sam I am.

I have just discovered why he changed his mind.

The kitchen is a place where fate often lends a hand. You inadvertently pick up something from here and there and anywhere. Your partner picks up something else. Then you take a walk in the garden, and pick something fresh and delicious.

So it came to pass the kitchen was bulging with freshly picked asparagus, brilliantly yellow and delicious eggs from woop- woop, and a bowl of the first pesto of the season. So I started thinking. Asparagus and pesto is a wonderful combination; asparagus and eggs is a combo made in heaven (I understand it is served for your first breakfast in the next life, the first weeks of spring being a constant up there); eggs and pesto is as fine a match as Pavarotti and tiramisu. Eggs and pesto! Green eggs. Yippee. All the ingredients had come together, and on top of it all, the best ingredient of all – fun. The result, green eggs and ham for two.

handful of asparagus spears

1 dessertspoon butter

2 of the best eggs you can find, well beaten

2 dessertspoons pesto


black pepper

1 slice crusty bread per person, for toasting – A crumpet or English muffin would be perfect.

2 slices ham


Discard the tough ends of the asparagus, and slice the tender bases very finely into coin shapes, reserving the spears to cook separately. Cook the sliced ends of the asparagus in a pot of boiling, salted water for about 4 minutes. The asparagus is done when just tender to the knife and the bite. Taste and see. It’s not so easy by feel when they’re tiny like this. Drain well.


Melt the butter gently in a warmed through, heavy-based pan. (The ideal vehicle for this dish is a Le Creuset pan. Some believe these pans are too heavy for sensible kitchen use. Bosh, I say to that. They have a tremendous ability to retain heat and to cook consistently and thoroughly.) When the butter is just melted, toss in the cooked asparagus slices and turn the heat to low. Stir about to allow the asparagus slices to draw in some butter, and then pour in the beaten eggs, stirring them through to cover the asparagus slices. You should notice the eggs will want to set when they contact the warm pan. Don’t let them.


Add 1 dessertspoon of pesto, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, incorporating the pesto, the asparagus slices and the eggs. The pan will be filled with green eggs. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes, until the eggs are creamy. Turn off the heat, add salt and black pepper, and cover the pan.


Cook the asparagus spears separately for 3-5 minutes, until just done. While the asparagus is cooking, toast the bread.


Toss the asparagus spears through the remaining pesto. Butter the toast, spread the ham on top, and spoon the green eggs on top of the ham. Serve the asparagus spears on the side.

WINE: A decadent topping to all this would be a good class of sparkling wine.