Some Riffs on Poached Eggs

Poached Egg Baroque

February 2, 2011 at 8:06pm


Poached Egg Baroque


This recipe calls for the eggs of something that has flown. It may be wild duck or wild goose eggs, for example. But if you go with smaller birds, you’ll have to do a lot of poaching to get more that a swallow. I prefer the goose. You can stalk one or two after you’ve put in for the night. That is, I may not have said, you’ll have to get out there on the river to make this meal. Before you put in, you must catch yourself a really brilliant wild Hoh steelhead. At least a six pounder.  I have it from Captain Matt, my second favorite guide, that, “floats and jigs, bait, and plugs have been the go to methods” recently. So get on out there. There have been plenty of “multi-fish days” according to McCulloch. Poached Eggs Baroque require celebration. Don’t prepare these if you are mopey. You’ll need a bottle of champagne. Don’t skimp. This is gonna be a great breakfast, brunch, or midnight supper out there in the wilds. You’ll have a hard time keeping the moose and owls away, not to mention the other fisher folk. We’ll assume you know how to fillet your steelhead. If not, take some lessons and sharpen your Swedish fillet knife before you start for the peninsula. You’ll want one of those flexible, thin bladed models. Don’t try to substitute.


Get some fresh limes and squeeze the dickens out of them just before you want to use them. You’ll want about 1/2 cup of juice. No, you don’t have to forage for the limes. Combine the juice with at least 2 cups of champagne. Put your fillets in a deep that is long enough so that you don’t have to trim or fold the fish. Pour the lime juice and  champagne over them then dot them with twigs of tarragon and cedar and slices of red onion. Let the fillets simmer over the fire, covered, for about 10 minutes. As soon as they are finished, plate them and put them in your portable warming oven. Break enough goose eggs into the still bubbling champagne broth (add more if needed). You’ll want one egg per guest. Four minutes should do it. Dip them out and place one on each plate. Cover each egg with Dijon mustard and a few capers. Sing while you do this. That’s the Baroque part. Or it will be if you chose the correct music.


Open another bottle of champagne, get out the flutes, and put the plates on a portable camp table.If you’ve really planned ahead, you’ll change into evening clothes and pull a New York Times crossword puzzle out of your pack


This dish can be done over a campfire. If I can do it you can do it. Don’t weaken and use a Coleman Stove. And just remember, only a really good filleting knife and the best champagne.


Thanks to Captain Matt for the notes on river conditions.


Next. Poached Eggs with Sand Dollar Crepes and Salad Frisee: Go Beach Combing with a Saucier Pot and a bit of Vinegar!


Poached Eggs Binoche

February 1, 2011 at 10:15am


I acquired this recipe from a horseman I met on the Island of Saint-Pierre. My brother-in-law and I took a sidetrip, by boat, to get a little distance between ourselves and our tiresome family life. We had a few days free before we would fly to Paris, a city I love. It was a  grand September, flowers blooming in the hills above us, and bees in season.  Though we were still jet lagged from our trip to Newfoundland from the Galapagos, we were eager to be on our way. And we were especially eager to be away from my sister, Mary. My brother-in-law was ready to kill her, quite literally. We had broken the lock that secured the barely seaworthy craft to a lovely old bridge. We had to break the lock, of course, because the code was unknown to us. Though the boat was old, it was painted in bright colors, predominantly blue. We bought a bunch of red balloons from a man named Dan who was selling them in the village. I tied them to one oarlock and we were on our way.


In my country, we do not poach eggs. However, in my journeys around the world, I’ve collected many versions of this humble dish.


On Saint-Pierre, there is a little restaurant run by a delightful couple named Alice and Martin. Their son, Fred, a horseman by night and a cook by day, served us this delightful dish:


One perfectly poached virgin duck egg, swirled gently for four minutes in almost boiling water (with 2 tbls white vinegar), is placed with care atop a crepe. The crepe is paper thin and made just a moment before, in fact, while the egg is sitting in its bath of hot water. The egg is then sprinkled with finely ground sweet smoked paprika. The shaker with the paprika should be held about three feet above the egg so that the egg receives just a light dusting. The whole is wrapped carefully. Meanwhile, a reduced balsalmic vinegar has been prepared and 1/4 cup of dark semisweet chocolat (the finest you can find, one without additives) has been melted. Make a drizzle of each on top of the crepe, crisscrossing the length of the crepe. It is best if you hold the saucier of vinegar in the left hand and the saucier of chocolat in the right and pour from each simulaneously. Best to use  small, copper saucier pans with pouring lips for this dish. Finally, finish the top with five capers placed in a neat row. Fred had poked a little tricolor on a stick into our crepes before he served Them. He wanted to remind us we were on French territory.



Poached Eggs Barouche

January 31, 2011 at 7:29am


We move now to examine the many beautiful things to do with a poached egg. We begin this morning with the poached egg barouche. Barouche is a fancy carriage meant to carry very secure, wealthy, and finely attired persons. The carriage is perfect, the people are perfect, and this perfection requires a thoughtful cook. You can do it. The recipe comes from the Alice B. Toklas Cook Book.


For four discerning guests, cut 2 large tomatoes in half, remove seeds and juice and grill. There is little left to grill apart from the skin and fleshy bits stuck to it. Be careful not to tear or otherwise abuse. You need this skin to be whole. Now then, place a tablespoon boiled rice in each half tomato. Then, on top, place a poached egg. You know now how to make a lovely poached egg. Egg is the passenger in this concoction. Of course, you will want to have a cover over the carriage in case of rain. Or in the event that you have guests present  who want a bit more fat and calories with their breakfasts. Cover the tomatoes and poached eggs with a 2 cups of cream sauce, into which 1 teaspoon curry has been mixed. Bring the sauce just to the point of boil, stirring constantly, before pouring.


The only thing difficult about this recipe is that one must remember to have boiled rice in advance. And one must have mastered poached egg. You’ve done that.


Don’t serve this to people who bite and swallow without noticing what you’ve done. You’ll be angry all day.




Obsession with Poached Eggs

January 12, 2011 at 2:16pm


I promise I’ll stop writing about poached eggs. But today my daughter in law found cream of tartar in the 100 Foot Journey by Richard Morais. I had given her my copy after I read it and had either forgotten or missed this:


Sarah says: Today I found the answer to what cream of tartar is. From the book

100 Foot Journey, “that crusty acid scraped off the sides of wine

barrels and pulverized, after purification,, into white powder that

miraculously stabilizes egg whites.” Thought of you.


People are now thinking of me when they think of poached eggs. Wonderful. I guess.


I tried Sandy’s last take on this: re: the perfect poached egg. And now I’m back to vinegar. See January 7 comments under the photograph of poor Connie. She doesn’t know what this innocent snapshot has attached to it. Anyway, I used water in a pot with flared sides, waiting til there were bubbles on the bottom, used 2 T of vinegar, dropped the eggs in while I swirled (and had the stupid thought that maybe the direction of the swirl makes a difference: one way in the northern hemisphere, the other way in the southern), then took the pot off the coil and let the egg sit in the hot water not quite six minutes. I did sort of lift some of the white onto the yolk. But I now think patience is the key. As I swirled and the white coalesced, it did look more and more like a Bread Peddler egg. And then after it sat resting…well it looked pretty doggone good.


Now enough of these experiments. I’ve been eating far too many eggs and this is not a good thing.