Monday, April 16, 2007

Uova da Bere


"Uova da Bere" is the term used in Italian markets for eggs fresh enough to drink raw. I’ve never tried it. I’ve never felt sufficiently brave, which is wholly un-chef-like of me. However, I adore lightly poached eggs, and this recipe underlines the difference between the local and supermarket variety.

A farm fresh egg is much higher in protein, which means the shell is thicker. I usually crack and open eggs with one hand, but I needed both to pull the shell apart on the eggs I bought from a farm stand. And the color of the yolk is decadently saturated – as is the flavor.

Some pea and radish shoots I’d bought the same day inspired me. I tossed the spicy-sweet mixture in a simple vinaigrette and grilled some 8 grain bread before dousing it with a peppery Spanish olive oil. A dusting of Parmesan and some fresh fines herbs made the whole thing taste like a deconstructed, luxuriously sunny Bearnaise sauce.

The end result was wonderfully balanced: the tang of the balsamic underlined the unctuous yolk, and the anise of the tarragon blunted the heat of the radish sprouts. If I was ever going to drink raw eggs, they would have to be the likes of these. And if you should ever muster the nerve, let me know how it goes.



Serves 2 – 4

2 tbsp vinegar (any kind)
4 farm fresh eggs
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
good handful pea shoots
good handful radish shoots
1 tbsp each minced flat leaf parsley, chervil, chives, and tarragon leaves
multigrain bread, sliced thickly
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preheat a grill pan or broiler.

Fill a medium saucepan with 3 inches of water. Add the 2 tbsp of vinegar (this helps the egg whites to stay together), and bring up to a simmer. Crack the eggs into 4 separate small cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in 3 tbsp of the olive oil, and toss in the sprouts until well coated. Set aside. Mince the parsley, chervil, chives, and tarragon.

When the water and vinegar come to a simmer, gently tip each of the eggs into the mixture. If they stick to the bottom of the pan, wait until they are set to free them. Simmer very gently for 2 – 3 minutes until just set but still runny.

Meanwhile, grill or broil the bread until lightly toasted. Remove to plates and drizzle with more of the olive oil. Top with the shoots.

When the eggs are done, gently remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and pat off extra moisture with a paper towel. Arrange the eggs on top of the sprouts and toast. Season with a little more kosher salt, dust with parmesan cheese, and finish with the fresh herbs. Serve immediately.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love your photography!

erover said...

Maybe it's something about the emphasis on eggs for Easter, but we've been all about eggs in our house lately. To be fair, because I do most of the cooking for the family (after a full workday), I have to admit the real reason: I discovered that it's possible to make a passible mock bernaise in the microwave. Scoff if you must. Yes, it's a tad grainy, but the taste is good and it's easy enough to whip up on a weeknight for a sublime dinner that feels as though I dedicated some serious effort in the kitchen. Here's how I do it:

Mix:
1T white wine vinegar
2T chopped shallots
1t tarragon

Microwave 1 minute

Stir in:
2 egg yolks
1/2 stick butter

Microwave 15 seconds, stir. Repeat 2 more times.

To make the sauce even more efficiently, I use dried shallots from Penzeys plus an equal amount of water

I've picked up my favorite maple-smoked or applewood-smoked bacon at Mrs. Greens, fried the eggs in the pan drippings, and toasted English muffins.

I reserve some bacon for the next day's omlette--adding an egg to the leftover whites, some gruyere cheese, fresh basil and a Penzey's blend called Rocky Mountain seasoning.

We've gone through three dozen eggs in the past 2 weeks thanks to these recipes plus a few feats of baking.

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