Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Poaching Perfection - Daring Cooks 12/10

Poached Egg on Grilled Romaine w/ Bacon Vinaigrette

Have you ever poached an egg? I mean poached without a "this will make it look like a poached egg" device? It's much simpler than you think. I warn you; once you do one, it's hard to stop playing with dropping the raw eggs into hot water and watching them become a balloon of golden comfort food.
Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

Now, for the grilling - it was done inside the house, in my fav pan: a La Creuset grill pan. No, as much as I'd love to be given a free La Creuset...anything, they did not sponsor this "rave". I just wanted to pass along the pan power. :D I'm sure there are other grill pans that also work well. Basically you just want the pan to be heavy (cast iron) and durable (cast iron) and have the raised grill stripes.

To those of you who may be thinking, "Why would I cook lettuce, why would I purposely make my lettuce soggy?" I offer that grilling greens gives them a nice smokey flavor and they're on the heat just long enough to wilt and create a wonderful mixture of saute and crisp.
This is a classic French Bistro Salad, often served with varied greens.
Then, there's the Bacon Vinaigrette - 'nuff said, am I right? There is no wrong time for bacon and eggs. The combo in this dish gives you the balance of buttery eggs that burst into their own sauce, on top of smokey greens with the tangy/sweet/savory bite of bacon and vinaigrette. Top this with a shaved shard of true Parmigiano Reggiano cheese that kicks up a natural salty zing and you have a full meal on a luncheon size plate.

RECIPE: Poached Eggs on Grilled Romaine with Bacon Vinaigrette-

Poaching the Egg-

1) Bring a deep sided sauce or saute pan filled 3/4 with water to a low simmer (not boiling)
2) Add 1 Tbls. vinegar to the water (it helps with keeping the egg together as it cooks).
3) Crack open the egg and drop the raw egg into the water gently (or put the egg into a cup first so you can control the gentle drop).
4) Cook the egg (s) for 3-4 minutes until the whites are set, but the yellow is definitely runny.
5) Remove with a slotted spoon and keep in cold water until ready to reheat and serve.

Bacon Vinaigrette:

3 pieces of bacon
1/2 shallot (minced)
2 Tbls Champagne Vinegar (or white balsamic, or other flavor)
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 Tbls Bacon fat (from cooking the bacon)
pepper to taste

1) Fry 3 pieces of bacon in a pan til crisp. Remove the bacon and all but 1 Tbls. of the rendered grease. Chop the bacon into small bits and hold.
2) In a bowl, whisk together well the 1 Tbls. left over bacon fat, shallots, vinegar, mustard, and pepper.
3) Drizzle the Olive oil, whisking constantly until the vinaigrette is emulsified (or holds together and thickened) Set aside for serving.

Grilled Romaine:

1) Wash and dry completely several stalks of Romaine Lettuce.
2) Spray (or wipe) the grilling pan with olive oil and heat on Med/High until hot.
3) Lay the Romaine lettuce leaves out as flat as possible and allow grill marks to show, then remove to a platter for serving as soon as possible.


Reheat the poached eggs by placing them in a bowl of very hot water for just a couple minutes
Lay out the Grilled Romaine, top with a poached egg.
Drizzle the Bacon Vinaigrette over the egg, and sprinkle with the cooked bacon.
Garnish with a thinly shaved piece of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Here are a few tips from the Daring Cooks this month:

 Make sure to use the freshest eggs possible. Farm-fresh eggs will make for the best poached eggs. Old eggs will have a harder time with the whites spreading out all over the place when you place the egg in the water.
 Adding a bit of vinegar or acidic agent to your water will help stabilize the eggs and cook the whites faster, and keeping your water just below boiling point (about 190F) will help keep the fragile eggs from all the boiling bubble action rupturing the eggs. Also make sure to salt your poaching water well.
 The other main key to success is to crack your egg into a small bowl first, taking care not to break the yolk. Then it becomes easy to gently slide the entire egg into the water for the poaching process. Some people will also suggest swirling the poaching liquid into a bit of a vortex before sliding the egg in, in order to help keep the egg whites together. I’ve found it works fine whether or not you do this step.
 A poached egg is done when the whites are fully cooked and the yolk has just started to solidify but is still runny when you cut it open – usually three minutes. It’s ok to go a little longer though depending on your desired firmness. I like mine so the edges of yolks are cooking but the inside is still runny, so I usually let them go 30s longer.
 You can poach eggs ahead of time (about a day). Just immerse them in ice water after poaching, and then keep them in a bowl of water in the fridge. When you are ready to use them, place them in hot (not boiling) water until they are warmed through.

Enjoy and for another easy recipe on Poaching Fish from ShowFoodChef - click HERE.


Kelly said...

Looks delicous!

Miri said...

Awesome twist on the challenge. Looks yum and thanks for the inspirational dish!

Audax said...

I just love charred lettuce great idea and the final dish looks wondrous great result on this challenge.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Jenn said...

mmmm gorgeous! "balloons of golden comfort" indeed! The whole salad looks awesome. I haven't had grilled romaine but en Suisse I have had grilled endive - definitely different cooking salad greens, but offered a nice taste - I will have to try this!

Melanie said...

I just had to wipe drool off my desk. Bacon and egg yolks make a divine combination!

Nancy said...

I remember learning to poach eggs in culinary school .. it was like magic!! Isn't it amazing how such a simple array of ingredients can result in such an intoxicating dish??

Magic indeed!!

Anonymous said...

I saw another post for this challenge that was a salad and thought to myself that a ceasar version would also be good. Yours looks delicious. Not only does the grilling add flavor but also a great visual element.

Wonderful take on the challenge.

Sippity Sup said...

It's like a winter salad, all warm and snuggly! GREG