Saturday, July 7, 2012

Our Kitchenless Adventure: Poached egg on toast

I woke up this morning ready to ride. The weather was agreeable, I was more or less caught up on any chores that needed doing, and it was a relatively cool and windless start to the day. So I pulled on my cycling kit and considered what to have for breakfast in order to fuel my ride.

A former student of mine, Sarai Brinker, recommended a book in the comments section of my last post. The book, An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with economy and grace, by Tamar Adler, is a thoughtful collection of essays about cooking and food. I like the format a great deal, as it isn't exactly a cookbook, though she does include recipes, nor is it strictly a how-to approach to cooking, though she includes a great deal of that, too. Rather, it is a delightful way to think about food and its preparation that is simple and reflective.

Good cooking need not be fancy, and Adler focuses on this idea almost exclusively; pairing fresh ingredients with basic technique can go a long way toward elevating a necessity (eating and nutrition) to a pleasurable experience.

She has a whole essay on eggs, and much of it is devoted to the technique of poaching. Now I've tried poaching eggs in the past, without much success, but Adler makes it seem easy. My usual bowl of cereal would not be sufficient to fuel my ride, and thus I determined it was a good day to see if Adler was right. I would attempt to poach an egg in my kitchenless kitchen.

Here is the dish:
Bring a pot of water to just simmering. Add an unmeasured teaspoon of white vinegar (this will help the egg white hold together.

Crack an egg in a container with a sharp edge. Adler recommends a tea cup. I used a stemless wine glass because it felt decadent. If the yolk breaks, you can set it aside to scramble later and try again. 

With the water simmering, slip the egg in, folding the whites together gently with a slotted spoon. When it seems as though the yolk is beginning to set, lift it out of the water with the spoon. I don't show mine cooking because it is hard to juggle a camera while you are also chasing egg whites around with a slotted spoon, but I think mine turned out pretty well (though some of the white got away from me):

Adler recommends drizzling with good olive oil and seasoning with salt and freshly cracked pepper while the egg is still warm. I had simultaneously toasted on the grill a slice of French country loaf rubbed with olive oil, so I skipped drizzling the egg. I did add a slice of smoked ham to the mix, though.

It was a fine way to start my Saturday.

12 comments:

  1. Yummmm, I love eggs, but runny yolks are still hard to take. Maybe one day.

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  2. Susan, That looks both delicious and elegant. gail

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    1. It was good, and I think the simplicity enhanced it.

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  3. Per Mr. Wildknits (brother to Jordan): "get the water spinning with the handle of a wooden spoon and then gently pour in the egg. The swirling water will keep the whites together.The water should be at a gently simmer when you add the egg." You do not have to keep stirring once the egg is added. Add a "touch of vinegar" to the water, as you detailed above.

    My experience as the eater of eggs poached in this manner, is that it works quite well. Bonus - you can probably capture it on camera as well!

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  4. Per Mr. Wildknits (brother to Jordan): "get the water spinning with the handle of a wooden spoon and then gently pour in the egg. The swirling water will keep the whites together.The water should be at a gently simmer when you add the egg." You do not have to keep stirring once the egg is added. Add a "touch of vinegar" to the water, as you detailed above.

    My experience as the eater of eggs poached in this manner, is that it works quite well. Bonus - you can probably capture it on camera as well!

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  5. Per Mr Wildknits (brother to Jordan): to poach an egg - "get the water swirling with the handle of a wooden spoon and then gently pour the egg in the center, the swirling water will keep the whites together". Water should be at a "gentle simmer", not a full boil. Add a "touch of vinegar".

    I can attest to the efficacy of this method.

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  6. Yum! If I hadn't been running the Green River, I would have come over and begged for an egg....

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  7. Yum! If I hadn't been running the Green River, I would have come over and begged for a poached egg....

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  8. I'm so so glad you liked the book!! I hoped that you would :D

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