The Two Anti-Inflammatory Aromatics This Top Chef Adds To Everything (Even Eggs)

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Eliza Sullivan is an SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
the two anti-inflammatory ingredients this top chef
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It's no secret that the life of a chef, and especially elite chefs, isn't always the healthiest. Nearly nocturnal hours and busy shifts without time for breaks often means grabbing bites of food here and there without much thought for nutrition. After years of living like that, chef Gregory Gourdet realized he needed a change. He started with getting sober, and his health journey continued from there.

That first change turned into a full lifestyle overhaul: from a life of partying to a lifestyle of paleo dieting, marathons, and mindfulness. "When I finally got sober, I kind of wanted to change so many parts about me," he tells mindbodygreen, "I had a lot of energy that I needed to replace with positive, healthy, healing things." In large part, that experience helped inspire his new cookbook, titled Everyone's Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health.

"I think whether you're on an alternative diet or not, people just generally want to eat better, and they don't want to feel restricted," he says. "For me, I can literally eat like a huge piece of fish or half a chicken and some greens and be completely happy. It's really about filling up on the good stuff."

The ingredients he adds to almost every dish.

There are two ingredients that Gourdet adds to nearly everything he cooks, for their bold flavor and health benefits.

"Ginger is something that is always in my pantry. It's an ingredient that's actually in the food of a lot of different cuisines," he says. "It's delicious; it adds brightness; it adds depth; it adds complexity. Chilies are the other thing that I really don't cook without," he laughs. "Literally, every dish I make has chilies."

Truly, you'd be hard-pressed to find a recipe that doesn't use at least one, and, in most cases, both, of these anti-inflammatory aromatics. Even in a chapter aptly titled "Eggs All the Time," you'll find ginger and chilies featured in some surprising dishes (think breakfast).

Research suggests that both ginger and chilies have inflammation-fighting abilities and compounds, among other benefits. Ginger has well-documented health perks including supporting digestion and promoting healthy blood sugar levels.

"A few simple steps transform ho-hum sautéed greens into this unforgettable one-pot dish," writes Gourdet of this recipe in his book, "perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Packed with vitamins, fiber, and other good stuff, collards, chard, and kale can taste a little too healthy. They need a boost." That boost comes from the aromatics (which also includes garlic here) and plenty of olive oil, plus "a last-minute dose of fresh herbs" to help cut through the satisfying richness that baking the eggs and greens provides.

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Eggs & Greens

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients

  • 1 small bunch collard greens
  • 1 small bunch kale (any kind will do) 
  • 1 small bunch Swiss chard
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-inch knob ginger, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks 
  • 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 fairly spicy fresh red chile, such as Fresno or ripe jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt 
  • 2 small dried red chilies, crumbled 
  • Handful mixed herbs, such as basil leaves, chopped parsley, small dill sprigs, and thinly sliced scallion 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the stems from the collard greens, kale, and Swiss chard, reserving the chard stems, which are nice and tender. Finely chop the chard stems. Cut the greens into 1-inch-wide strips. You should have about 5 lightly packed quarts total. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet over medium heat until shimmery. Add the ginger, garlic, fresh chilies, and ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until the aromatics are fragrant and the edges of the garlic turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. 
  3. Add the chard stems and cook for 1 minute. Add half the greens and toss with tongs until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add the remaining greens and the remaining kosher salt, then mix all really well to coat them with the aromatics. Cook, tossing occasionally, just until they've all slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. 
  4. Crack the eggs onto the greens and the remaining kosher salt, leaving a couple of inches between each one. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are set but still runny, 7 to 10 minutes. 
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the sea salt and dried chile over each egg. Sprinkle on the herbs, and serve.

From the book Everyone's Table by Gregory Gourdet and J.J. Goode. Copyright © 2021 by Gregory Gourdet and J.J. Goode. Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

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