Saturday, August 3, 2013

Eggs Made Incredible

The other day, my maternal uncle was telling me how much he enjoyed eggs, regardless of how they were made. This conversation took me back to a recipe that my husband had pointed me to.

My husband loves good food, but he would rather leave the cooking to me.  He does, however, browse the internet in search of a good recipe and then I try it out.  We make the necessary modifications without straying to far away from the original dish.  

Many of the recipes I have been pointed to come from Jacques Pepin, whom I now regard nothing short of a culinary genius.  I don't regularly watch any of his shows, but the little bits and pieces of information I have picked up from him over the years have been so helpful.  For example, I remember hearing from him about 20 years ago that soaking dried beans in water begins the germination process with makes them generate more gas.  The preferred method of re-hydration would be to pressure cook them.  Who knew?  But I digress.  Jacques Pepin has a show called "More Fast Food My Way".  This show is the source for many of the recipes I have tried.  Some of the recipes are available in print on the internet, but for others I have had to watch the entire episode (available on youtube or here) to gather as much information as I can, and then wing it.  The results of my experiments remind me of a line from the Kenny Rogers Chicken episode of Seinfeld: "Not Fast Food, but good food quickly".  This was probably what the culinary anti-Christ Sandra Lee is aiming for, but she falls hopelessly on her face.  While Pepin combines ingredients with finesse and ends up with elegant results, Sandra Lee schleps together a host of sodium-laden canned and bottled prepared foods and ends up with what my Sandra-Lee-hating-sisters would describe as "craptacular".  But again, we'll save the Sandra-bashing for another blog.

Back to Jacques Pepin, I am just awed at how he can take a humble boiled egg and elevate it to gastronomic nirvana.  If you read the recipe, you may not even believe that the ingredients would combine, let alone result in something that tastes so good.  But trust me when I say that it does.  

The first time I tried this recipe was when my husband and I were in Hawaii.  We were fortunate enough to have access to a lovely house, complete with a full kitchen.  We didn't have mayonnaise at hand, nor did we want to shell out $ 6 for a tiny little bottle of it, so we substituted it with ranch dressing.  That was about the only substitution we made, but since we had nothing to compare our first attempt to, we were blown away by how good it tasted.  Our second attempt was pretty much as soon as we got back home.  The mayonnaise made a huge difference.  We have also forgone the anchovies for smoked salmon, because my husband is not a big fan of the incredibly fishy aftertaste from anchovies.  

Okay then, here we go.

The first step is to boil the eggs.  You're probably wondering why I would spend time on going over how to boil eggs.  I guess it's because despite being somewhat of a culinary aficionado, I didn't know how to do this right.  It wasn't important to our family growing up that boiled eggs not have a green and ugly yolk. I also like the middle of the egg yolk to not be all the way cooked, but not runny either.  So depending on how you like your eggs boiled, here's how to achieve the desired results.

Begin by bringing 3 cups of water to a rolling boil.  

Slowly immerse two eggs into the boiling water, ensuring that they are fully covered.  Boil the eggs for exactly 9 minutes.  

Have on hand a bowl of cold water with ice.  Remove the eggs from the boiling water and shock them by dunking in the ice water.  Allow the eggs to cool well before peeling them.  Eggs cooked this way will result in the way I like them, slightly under-cooked but not runny in the middle.  If you like the yolks runny, cook for about 7 minutes.  If you prefer your eggs well cooked, bring the eggs to room temperature before boiling and then use cold water without the ice to cool them.  

While the eggs are boiling, chop fine a shallot or part of a small red onion.  

In a little bowl, combine 1 teaspoon mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon tomato ketchup and a few drops Tabasco sauce and mix well.

When the eggs are ready, slice each one in half.

I will admit that the eggs captured in the above image are slightly overdone, but most people enjoy their eggs this way.

Finally, put the dish together.  Top the eggs with the sauce.  Garnish with the red onions or shallots, and a few capers.  Add two anchovies or a thin slice of smoked salmon on top.


All you need is a mimosa to wash it down.  Enjoy!