Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.
A well poached egg is one of the most simply delicious culinary delights that anyone can master. If you have fresh eggs, it is truly a gourmet treat. I love poached eggs, but spent years trying to get the perfect poach. After trying all sorts of gizmos….. silicone cups and those sort of forms, I have concluded that the perfect poached egg is made by the little “truc” of making sure that you simply swirl the boiling water, then turn the heat way down, and give a little swirl until the egg is definitely free from the bottom. The other secret is quite a bit of vinegar in the water – I use about 2 T to my little deep Paderno saucepan. A dash of salt is also important, and keep the water only just before a boil. Poached eggs are so versatile. They are delicious just on toast, but also resting on beds of various things, covered by sauce. One of my favourite combos is poached eggs on a bed of du Puy lentils, weird I know but good protein and low glycemic index (This is important so you can eat more shortbread cookies).
Anyway, to get on with the challenge, I needed to do this fast since my most recent obsession is knitting doll clothes so I wanted to get back to my yarn. For the first “eggsperiment” I happened to have a jar of Patak’s korma sauce just opened that I had used on a delicious fish dish the night before, and some good Italian canned tomatoes. So, I made a sauce of tomatoes, a couple spoons of Pataks (to taste – no recipe needed here!), and some of the dark kabouli chick peas I had in the fridge. So, eggsperiment one was delicious, and a make again for sure, good for fridge leftovers, I bet you can put almost any leftover vegetable in the sauce. And if you havent tried Pataks sauces, they are an amazing, my theory is that they can get fresher spices than we can. I make lots of indian food, but Pataks is sometimes the best answer to quick gourmet Indian food (especially in a small central Ontario town where Indian is pretty exotic and restaurantless).
Eggsperiment #2: “Oeufs a la Châtaigne”
Another pantry wonder. I had spinach that was past it’s prime. So I sauteed it for a sumptious bed for the poached egg. Then, I ruminated over maybe a cheese sauce, and really wanted to do Oeufs en Meurette, but today I wanted to go shopping so that’s for later. So I rooted out a truly gourmet leftover from the depths of my fridge – a “Confit of Chestnuts, Fennel, and Walnuts” from the Joel Robuchon / Patricia Wells Simply French cookbook. OK, true confessions, I didn’t make the exact recipe (my larder of veal stock was non existent), but my version was to saute onions, shallots, fennel, deglaze the pan with some sherry, then add the chestnuts and walnuts. This was baked in the oven until the rest of the meal was done. It was delicious, even Greg who doesn’t really like fennel had seconds. After spying this lovely little bowl of chestnutty goodness …(don’t throw up, I am trying to emulate Nigella), I put some of the leftover confit in the food processor, added a little water and whip cream, and voila, the start of a delicious sauce. I heated this up, added a little flour to smooth out and thicken, and poured it over the poached egg. I have not included a picture of the cut centre, because the truth is that by the time I finished all this pantry raiding the yolk was a little stiff, so the picture you will have to imagine is a bite taken out and the yellowy smoothness of the yolk bursting out of its eggy goodness (ok, I know, enough Nigella, maybe I will try emulating Anthony Bourdain next!)
Stay tuned for my next post, I just got springerele molds!!