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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Extravagant Eggs

Eggs are basic and yet one of the harder things to cook well. My two favorite ways to eat eggs are poached or softly scrambled. I like creamy scrambled eggs, cooked low and slow, and so soft that no curds form. When it comes to poached eggs, the yolk should be runny and the white should be firm, but not rubbery. It's crucial to dry the eggs after poaching, so they aren't waterlogged. Both recipes take patience to master, but once you do, you will have so many options.

The great thing about eggs, scrambled or poached, is that they pair well with so many other flavors and can be eaten any time of the day. I particularly like them for dinner. You can serve eggs with anything from the simplest fresh herbs to the most luxurious ingredients such as lobster, gravlax, caviar or truffles.

Caviar Gravlax Benedict
Earlier this month instead of going out for our anniversary, Lee and I stayed in for an over-the-top breakfast for dinner celebration for two. I supplemented some homemade gravlax (thanks dad!) with some Tsar Nicoulai caviar I bought. I folded the caviar into the hollandaise sauce and served it on top of the gravlax, poached eggs and English muffins, eggs benedict style. Mixing the caviar into the hollandaise sauce helps extend it and makes a dramatic presentation. You need about an ounce for two servings. Any kind of caviar would work, from less expensive paddlefish to high end osetra.

Truffled Scrambled Eggs
A few weeks later when the folks at Mirepoix offered me a couple of Summer truffles, I again thought of eggs. This time I scrambled six large eggs gently in butter with a knob of fontina and served them on top of sliced toasted brioche with a healthy shaving of fresh truffles. The earthy nuttiness of Summer truffles is easily overpowered with other ingredients but a delicate and mild preparation of eggs makes the perfect foil. I used one large truffle, about one ounce for two servings. Because they are so subtly flavored, it's wise to use Summer truffles as a topping, rather than cooking them. For a less expensive version of this dish using truffle salt or truffle oil instead of fresh truffles, check out my recipe for Creamy Scrambled Eggs.

With both of these dishes I would recommend drinking cava or Champagne. Something sparkling with a bit of sweetness. The bubbles help cut through the richness but don't overwhelm the subtle savory flavors.

What's the most extravagant egg dish you've cooked or eaten?