(Photo by me; I didn’t cook that)
The more I cook eggs, the more I see how complicated they are. Their simple nature allows versatility, too much at times. So much so, I can’t help to think eggs are mocking me when I prepare them in a basic way. If eggs could talk, I am almost certain they would be saying something close to: “Why aren’t you pushing your creative boundaries? You know you can do more with me.”
After a lot of trial and error, I’ve found simple, can really be best. Especially because eggs are so versatile. And here are two of my favorite recipes.
First, I found at the bottom of this Mark Bittman piece on “Ma Gastronomie” and cooking with Thomas Keller. (It is a quick, delightful read.)
I was most impressed with Point’s fried-egg “recipe”: warm butter, don’t let it sizzle, slip in the egg, keep the heat low, wait until the white is creamy and the yolk hot.
Point, is Fernand Point, author of “Ma Gastronomie”. The recipe captures the essence of cooking, I think. Precise step by step instructions are fine, but that one basic “recipe” teaches technique cookbooks cannot: real life application.
Second, is from a charming story of accidental discovery by Chef Dan Patterson of Coi, in San Francisco. This dish came to be when his then fiancée threw out his teflon frying pan and…well, do please read his words. It truly is worth five minutes of your day.
Recipe: Poached Scrambled Eggs
Poached Scrambled Eggs
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper.
1. Crack each egg into a medium-mesh sieve (or narrow-slotted spoon), letting the thin white drain away. Transfer the remaining yolk and white to a small bowl. Beat the eggs vigorously with a fork for 20 seconds.
2. Set a medium saucepan filled with 4 inches of water over moderate heat. Put a strainer in the sink. When the water is at a low boil, add a few large pinches of salt, then stir in a clockwise direction to create a whirlpool. Pour the eggs into the moving water, cover the pot and count to 20.
3. Turn off the heat and uncover the pot. The eggs should be floating on the surface in ribbons. While holding back the eggs with a spoon, pour off most of the water over the strainer. Gently slide the eggs into the strainer and press them lightly to expel any excess liquid.
4. Scoop the eggs into bowls, drizzle with olive oil if desired and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Variations: Serve with butter; smoked paprika; piment d’Espelette; or a spoonful of crème fraîche and a dollop of caviar.) Serves 2. Adapted from Daniel Patterson.