Saturday, June 25, 2005

Onion Smothered Eggs Recipe


I am what's known as a good eater. There isn't much I won't eat and hardly anything I won't try at least once. When I was young there was only one food I can recall that I didn't like--hard boiled egg salad. Then while living in Florence I tried tripe, I'll spare you the details, and just say, I didn't like tripe either.

So it's kind of ironic that I love Oeufs a la Tripe, my submission for the monthly online event "Is My Blog Burning?" hosted this month by the thoroughly charming Seattle Bon Vivant. Though recipes vary, it consists of hard boiled eggs served with a bechamel sauce, with or without onions, in a gratin or over toast. But there is never any tripe in it. It gets that name because the eggs are just cooked as one "might cook tripe" and perhaps it looks a bit like tripe. One of the oldest dishes in the Cordon Bleu repertoire, there are versions of this recipe supposedly going back to the 17th century.

This is a definite comfort food for me and something that I enjoyed making for my family when I was just learning to cook. It's a great late night supper. I can't even remember where I got the recipe. The only version of it I can find in any of my cookbook is in the Escoffier cookbook. I've never seen it on any menus. It's a great recipe because it uses staple items, eggs, onions, milk, bread. Nothing very fancy and I imagine you could use any cheese you like in it. I like it with copious amounts of fried onions and a bit of parmesan cheese. Can all recipes be improved with an addition of sauteed onions? Quite possibly. This recipe is so delicious that it really ought to be called something else other than "tripe". Onion Smothered Eggs perhaps?

Note: Delicious as this is, there is NO way to make it look beautiful, hence the "before" picture above! Also you may hard boil your eggs any which way you choose, I've included my method because I learned it from Jacques Pepin and it, just like Jacques, never fails me.

Onion Smothered Eggs
serves 2 generously

Ingredients

4 eggs
1 large onion, sliced into rings
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk (lowfat or skim is fine)
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper
2 slices toast

Instructions

Place eggs in a pot of water to cover, bring water to a boil. Boil gently for eight minutes. Pour water out of pot and place pot under cold water tap for a minute or two. Bang the eggs against the side of the pot to crack then peel and slice crosswise into 4-5 slices per egg.
Meanwhile in a large skillet, (I use a Le Creuset dutch oven) saute the onions in butter. When soft and pale golden brown, about eight minutes, sprinkle with the flour and stir until the flour begins to toast in the butter. All at once add the milk, whisking until smooth and scraping up any brown bits that may have stuck to the pan. Add the parmesan cheese and stir. When the sauce is thick, add salt and pepper to taste. Add the eggs, gently spooning the sauce over them to coat. Taste again to adjust salt. Serve over fresh, hot, toasted white or sourdough bread.

Enjoy!