The day job brought me down to D.C. last week and I had the opportunity to put a face to the pixels, as gansie and I grabbed a hot chocolate at Artfully Chocolate | Kingsbury Confections. It was a very nice hot chocolate — semi-sweet chocolate infused with lavender — and I really liked it despite the fact that I felt slightly ridiculous ordering a “Liz Taylor.” The conversation was quite enjoyable, too, but I’m afraid that I came down with something while I was there.
Yep, I think I have the “egg on top” virus, and I’m pretty certain I caught it from gansie.
You can see the latest manifestation of this in the picture above. That would be my first pass at huevos rancheros. Normally, my attempts at cooking Mexican dishes are as good as my ability to speak Spanish. In other words, they suck. But if there is something I’ve learned from gansie, it’s that an egg on top of anything makes it better. A note on the picture: Not the best quality…you can see why Mrs. TVFF and I are on the market for a digital SLR…but I was so happy with how perfect the yolk looked on top of the tortilla that I had to take a picture.
The runny eggs were darn near perfect, and it worked well with a simple salsa (made from scratch) and fried corn tortillas. I’m still kicking myself for not picking up some queso blanco and maybe some sort of beans (black? pinto? refried?), but I guess that just means I’ll have to try it again sometime soon.
Although this dish features a couple of fried eggs, it’s poached eggs that I’ve been messing around with lately…
I like my eggs on the runny side, and every now and again, I’ll make a soft boiled egg with some toast soldiers. I don’t have an egg topper, so opening the egg usually involves a spoon and me searing the tips of my fingers. While this is a great way to remove fingerprints for a life of crime, it generally puts me in a shitty mood and kinda makes me resent the egg I’m about to enjoy. So I’ll usually decide to dispense with the formality of the “egg cup” and just break the thing open over the toast. It’s not like I’m trying to impress anyone with presentation, so it works. But you still need to get it out of the shell, so I was looking for a better way.
I’ve always been kind of skeptical about those silicone egg poachers that float on top of a pot of water, but I caved and bought a pair of them on my last trip to Crate & Barrel.
It took me one or two attempts to get the consistency the way I wanted it — solid egg white, runny yolk — but I have to say that I’ve come around on them. The egg white does come out with a slightly more firm texture than you may get from a water-poached egg, but the construction of the device gets the majority of the egg down below the waterline, cooking it evenly, so it’s not too bad.
You just need to lube them up with a little oil before putting them in the water and you’re good to go. I run a spoon around them when I take them out of the pot and, plop!, out it comes. The only real drawback is that you end up with an egg that looks a little funky, kind of rounded like an inverted pork bun. I drop mine over the toast and have at it with a knife and fork, so I’m obviously not hung up on appearances.
Of course, it it’s just you, the food and some Saturday morning television programming, you’re probably not too worried about the presentation either, so this gives you consistent results without the chance of a water-poaching disaster. No adding vinegar, no stirring the water into a whirlpool and no having the yolk break in your slotted spoon.
So, if you’re a perfectionist who wants a poached egg to drape perfectly over your salad, you’ll probably want to stick with the restaurant method. If you’re looking for something to get it done and on your plate without the headaches, you might want to consider these.
Regardless of the improvements I’ve made in my technique, I am sure that I have a way to go before I possess gansie’s mastery of crowning your favorite dish with a perfectly-cooked egg.