Saturday, March 20, 2010

Get Crackin'... The Egg A Day Experiment

My grandfather, Guy McMurtry Kelly, ate an egg every day of his life. And he lived to be 97.

I'm not saying there's a connection, but maybe... I was contemplating the power of the egg while reading Michael Ruhlman's Elements of Food, one of the breeziest reference books I've ever picked up. He goes on and on about how much he loves eggs. Their power to enrich and strength, to emulsify and turn oil into mayo or even better, rouille. His words stirred something in me. A new appreciation for the humble orb.

So, what better day to start something new and egg-centric than the dawning of Spring? I know it's been done to death, but I thought I'd do a daily tribute to the egg... until it gets stale. So, LET'S GET CRACKIN'!

When I cook eggs for breakfast, it's almost always scrambled. Because it's so quick and easy. You don't have to fret about breaking the yolk. You can even -- horrors! -- nuke/scramble in the microwave if you're desperate.

But Ruhlman's prose nudged me into poaching territory. He borrows a technique from Harold McGee to poach the perfect egg, cracking it into a ramekin before sliding onto a slotted spoon where the runny stuff drips out. No more ragged edges. This worked pretty well when I made Momofuku's fan-flipping-tastic Shrimp and Grits, but I don't think I'm going to fuss with it at breakfast for myself. Especially if I'm going to gently spoon that egg onto a bowl of grits.

In the photo above, those are Alber's Quick Grits I made according to the directions on the package, adding a little extra water and then finishing them by folding in shredded Drunken Goat cheese and some shaved Parm. And lots of salt and pepper. And, finally, a few dashes of Tabasco's Habenero sauce on top.

I wonder what Papa -- who liked his one fried egg on a piece of dry toast -- would have thought about that presentation.

Would love to hear any other poaching pointers!


Curt said...

Yum! What time is breakfast every morning? When you get to baked eggs, let me know.

David Hinske said...

Not to mention noodles! Made some spaetzle the other day. Some work attached to that, but well worth it.

Donata said...

I do love a poached egg...I'm experimenting making the perfect lightly cooked oval shaped egg from a pot of boiling this point I am unconcerned with appearance but do love the control that I as the cook have for doneness when constantly massaging the egg in the boiling water...My favorite seasoning for my poached egg is definitely a combination of kosher salt, lavender buds and fresh cracked pepper.

p.s. I like your blog!

ruhlman said...

Saw the mention of this post on icerocket and now, because of the power of grits and eggs, a pan of grits is now on the stovetop. thanks!

Patrick said...

Recently, my brunchmates all agreed that it seemed bizarrely old-fashioned of me to order my eggs poached, and even more so to then break them over my toast. I'm 27.

But poached is definitely my favorite egg. I love to stick one on top of a pile of fettuccine with oyster mushrooms and a very light cream sauce. It's one of those magical weeknight dinners that require little to no forethought, can be prepared in half and hour, and will impress your friends.