Saturday, June 7, 2008

Nested eggs benedict

For most of my life, I ate eggs two ways: scrambled, or in an omelette. I've always hated hard-boiled eggs, which seem like another (lesser) food altogether, and I have to admit I was afraid of them sunny side up or poached. In the last few years, however, I've come to enjoy them both of those ways, but it's only recently that I've tried making them myself. I fried my first egg a few months ago, and have quickly become comfortable enough to serve up lightly fried quail eggs atop the second iteration of my warm fava bean salad.

But I hadn't tried to poach an egg until this week. I scoured the internet for advice, and I probably would have gone with the plastic wrap method if I weren't worried about dropping potentially toxic plastic into a pot of boiling water with my dinner. Then, I thought to ask my dad, who said the trick is in the vinegar – adding enough of it to the water that the egg doesn't separate – and in sliding the egg into the water with a gentle touch.

I followed his advice as I set out to deconstruct a dish that somehow I've never actually eaten. I'm no fan of Canadian bacon, generic English muffins, or hollandaise sauce at brunch, so I've so far managed to steer clear of eggs benedict, though I'm sure there's an intriguing version somewhere nearby waiting to be eaten in the near future. Still, I thought that I could take the elements that do attract me – the poached egg in butter atop some carbs – and turn them into an appealing and easy dinner.

What could be more natural than an egg in a nest? So I cooked up some whole-wheat spaghetti, swirled it in a sauté pan with a little butter, salt, and freshly ground pepper, and piled it on the plate. The poaching went as smoothly as I could have hoped for, and I placed an egg inside each little nest and topped it off with a flurry of parmigiano reggiano. A quick sauté of organic baby spinach with olive oil, onions, garlic, and a hearty shake of the compelling but unidentified spice mix Jon's mom brought back from Istanbul was perfect on the side, as a sort of improvised "florentine" accompaniment.


Time: 20 minutes

1/4 package Trader Joe's whole wheat spaghetti
2 eggs
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp salted butter
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
parmigiano reggiano

1. Add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to a large pot of water and heat until it's just about to boil.
2. Break eggs one at a time into a small dish and carefully slide egg into the water. Cook for about 2 minutes, then carefully remove and let the water drain off the outside of the egg.
3. At the same time, cook spaghetti until it's al dente. Heat butter in a skillet. Drain the pasta, reserving a bit of cooking water, and add pasta and cooking water into skillet with butter. Season with salt and pepper, then plate with the egg.
4. Grate parmigiano reggiano over the dish to taste.

Yield: 2 servings


michelle @ thursday night smackdown June 10, 2008 at 3:39 PM  

i'm sitting at my desk trying to think of what to make for dinner tonight that doesn't involve excessive cooking, and i think i may have found it!

Ali June 10, 2008 at 4:04 PM  

It sounds like you must be in New York, too. It's brutal out there!

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