Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I watched an episode of Jacques and Julia about eggs. On the show, they make several variations on a theme, so on this particular one about eggs, they did souffle. Jacques cracked his four eggs straight into a copper mixing bowl and then lifted the yolks out! Julia asked what he would do if he got some yolk in there accidentally. He looked at her like she was nuts, and answered that that had never happened to him. Oh. The egg shell-to-shell method is no good because you lose 1/4 of the white, according to Jacques. What would he say about those useless "separators" often sold as part of measuring cup sets? One of his jobs, in fact, as a young apprentice in France, was to "clean out the shells." That's what he said. I assumed he meant that he was supposed to make sure all the white got out of those shells and into the bowl where they belonged, this being post-war France and 1/4 white would eventually add up to many whole whites that could feed many an underfed child, or restaurant patron, in France.
Sara Moulton was the first TV chef whom I started watching back in the 90s. She also had an egg episode on which she made a souffle. She told a story about how she had made that particular souffle with a friend at his house. They walked across the street to his neighbor's to get their eggs, walked back, and made the dish. Sara said that the lift on this thing was unlike any souffle she had ever seen. The moral of the story being that there is much to be said about fresh eggs.
Already my mother is going to comment about how few photos there are in this egg entry. I only snapped one, and yet I have a lot to say. Plus, I am on the road and don't have a photo hookup I am familiar with, so there.
Remember when you weren't supposed to even eat eggs? During the 80s when so many things were verboten and yet you could eat a whole bag of fat-free cookies? I believe eggs were anathema because of cholesterol. Now they are fine, of course. Although I think the yolk is something to be wary of. When it comes to food, I think I can safely say that Americans are crazy. I have heard this food naivete and craziness blamed on our ostensible lack of food culture. Some people might get ruffled feathers reading that last sentence. Oh, we so have a food culture, vis a vis, celebrity chefs, Top Chef TV shows, food stylist is an actual occupation, for goodness' sake. And yet. Look at Italy and France, Japan - those are food cultures deeply ingrained in the identity of each inhabitant. I don't know that it is that way here. I can say that I am cultured in food, but not that I pertain to a food culture, per se. California cuisine? What does that even mean? I think it has something to do with sprouts and avocado. I am making light, surely. And we can get regional. Someone from New Orleans could take serious issue with my (pejorative?) generalization. I can see it.
So my egg dish. I eat an egg nearly every day. Love them. Scrambled, over-medium and poached are my preferred types. Oooooh, I like hard-boiled, too. If you inspect the photo you might notice some golden color peeking out and wonder what the heck is wrong with me. I like my eggs dry. I know I know. But the thought of wetness in there makes me gag. My brother is the same way. He will pull the waitress aside and make her repeat his order: Burn my eggs! I mean it. This creates a problem because there is a fine line between dry and totally ruined. If you cook eggs on a high heat for too long, they seize and all the water comes rushing out. You get your eggs in a puddle. I have had puddly eggs at a restaurant and it is not okay. I'm sure some of you also want to get to the bottom of hard-boiled v. soft-boiled. I recall being in Norway, staying with friends, the Cherrys. Hope was making soft-boiled eggs. I asked if she could leave mine in to make it hard-boiled. What? Does not compute. I would rather lay an egg than eat a soft-boiled one. Perhaps it's texture ... that warm, sulfurous, viscous mass moving over my tongue? Nope. But I do like my poached and fried eggs with the yolk runny. A paradox? Perhaps. But one I am comfortable with.
I would feel oh so refined, however, if I sat down with my soft-boiled egg in a egg cup every morning. With my special soft-boiled egg clippers and egg spoon. So very refined.
I saw a marvelous recipe on a blog I follow - eggs with eggs. In other words, you add some caviar. Don't mind if I doooo. I have never had beluga or sturgeon caviar, actually. I've had salmon roe and that was delicious. It was like the sea exploded in my mouth with every wee egg. A delight.
My daily eggs are simple: one whole eggs plus about three egg whites. I scramble those and add cheese, veggies, or just some Spike. I like to fold an omelet in between the halves of an English muffin for a nice little breakfast sandwich. Yum.