January 11, 2007
I have poached many eggs over the years – battery hen eggs, organic eggs, barn-fed eggs, free range eggs, Omega 3 eggs, freshly laid eggs, eggs of unknown age. I have used egg poaching pans and ordinary pans. I’ve poached eggs with and without vinegar in the water. I’ve tried the vortex method of getting the boiling water spinning in the pan and dropping the egg in the centre. I’ve cracked eggs into varying depths of water in a frying pan.
I’ve also microwaved shelled eggs, which can be a bit like Russian roulette – will the egg start exploding before it’s cooked? I prick the yolk as recommended but I don’t think that’s where the problem lies. I reckon it’s the cords or chalazae – those albuminous spiral bands each side of the yolk – that cause much of the trouble when microwaving eggs.
Anyway, I was surfing the Net and I chanced on another method – eggs poached in cling film. Being a frustrated chemist, I am up for any type of experimentation in the kitchen and so, several eggs down the track, here is my method.
It’s pretty straightforward. You need the microwavable cling film for this – the sort that can cope with higher temperatures.
Grease a large square of the film and place it in a small deep container such as a ramekin or an espresso cup. Crack in the egg, Gather up the edges of the wrap and twist them to contain the egg.
Place the wrapped egg in a pot of boiling water and allow it to simmer there for approximately 4 1/2 minutes. You should be able to see when the white has cooked. Plunge immediately and briefly into to icy water then carefully remove the egg from the wrap and turn out onto hot buttered toast. A grind of black pepper, a sprinkle of salt. Enjoy!
The “flower egg” is a signature dish of chef Juan Mari Arzak, father of modern Spanish cuisine. He uses a little truffle oil and goose fat on the plastic wrap. His egg is served with a finger of breadcrumbs laced with a little sausage and bacon, a finger of date and sausage mousse, and a teaspoon of chopped fresh truffle. The egg is ladled with a vinaigrette specked with finely diced white and black grapes.
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