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June 20, 2011
NOTE: I first had these eggs at Braden Perkin's Hidden Kitchen in Paris (see below and see Braden's comment) and loved them. As Braden comments, he learned them from Arzak in Spain. Thank you, Braden and a big thank you to Juan Mari Arzak.
See that little bundle on top of the asparagus? It's an egg and a favorite of mine. I call it a ruffly egg because of the way the whites are folded and pleated, but it's essentially a soft-boiled egg boiled sans shell and I feel very cheffy when I make it. In fact, as I was searching for this photo, I came across one that I'd taken (with my iPhone under horrible lighting conditions -- sorry) at Uchiko in Austin, Texas. Here it is -- ruffly egg, white asparagus and summer truffles:
What you can't see in either picture is what happens when you break into the egg, but I think you can guess: The yolk breaks and runs and forms a delicious sauce. I didn't get a chance to ask the chef how he made his eggs, but I wouldn't be surprised if he did them just he way I do and if, like me, he uses the freshest organic eggs he can find. I'm in Paris now, so here I buy organic eggs that are marked "Extra," meaning that they can be eaten raw or barely cooked up until the date stamped on the box; after that they're fine for any other kind of preparation.
The eggs are so good plain, but it's fun to give them some pre-poach flavor.
Because the plastic that you wrap the eggs in has to be buttered or oiled, you have a sticky surface on which to apply herbs or spices. Think of it as creating a marinade for your eggs. The most obvious and classically delicious is just to salt and pepper the buttered wrap, but depending on where the ruffly eggs will end up, you might want to give them some heat -- piment d'Espellette would be a great spice if the eggs were going on top of a piperade; some smoke -- I'm thinking Spanish paprika, if the eggs were going on top of beef (wouldn't they be interesting on top a beef tartare?); some whiff of the ocean -- seaweed would be nice if the eggs were headed for a soup; or some truffle slices or shavings -- for just about any reason.
I line small ramekins with 'seasoned' plastic, break the eggs onto the plastic and then draw up the sides and tie them with twine as close to the top of the egg as possible. Then I let the eggs rest in their little nests in the refrigerator until I'm ready for them. However, Braden Perkins, of Hidden Kitchen, he who introduced me to the recipe, told me that when he saw them being made in Spain, the eggs were hung. Either way, you're going to get a great egg.
If you make the eggs, I'd love to know how you served them. Here's what I did with mine: I buttered the plastic, seasoned it with salt and fairly coarsely ground pepper and then 'pasted' a few basil leaves here and there before adding the egg. The asparagus were boiled just until they could be pierced with the tip of a knife, and then, after I patted them dry and while they were still hot, I rolled them around around in a vinaigrette that had a little bit of mustard added to it. Oh, and a strew a few torn leaves of basil in as well.
RUFFLY POACHED EGG
Adapted from Around My French Table
Here’s a recipe for 1 egg, but you can multiply without a problem – just make sure to use a large pot, so the eggs can bob around freely.
Makes 1 serving
1 very fresh large egg, preferably organic
Olive oil or butter
Put a saucepan of water up to boil and have a teacup and some kitchen string at hand.
Cut two pieces of plastic wrap, each large enough to generously wrap around the egg, and put one piece on top of the other. Very lightly coat the top piece of plastic with oil or butter, and then fit the double layer of wrap into the teacup. Gently crack the egg and tip it into the cup, taking care not to break the yolk. Draw up the sides of the plastic, getting as close as you can to the top of the egg, and twist to tighten the plastic. Tie the string around the neck of the plastic to secure it.
Lower the heat under the saucepan and when the water is at very a slight simmer, drop in the egg. Don’t worry – the plastic won’t melt. Allow the egg to poach for 4 to 6 minutes, then carefully lift it out of the water on a slotted spoon. (If the white doesn’t look set, poach a few seconds longer.) The easiest way to unpack the egg is to put it on a flat surface and to snip the plastic below the string; open the plastic. Gently lift the egg from the plastic to the plate without turning it over. (It’s not a problem if it’s upside-down, it’s just that the ruffles are prettier on the top.) Serve immediately.
Serving: The egg can be used in the same way as you’d use as a poached egg. Fine by itself with a strip of buttered toast, it really comes into its own when it’s put over warm vegetables or salads.
Storing: The eggs can be wrapped up and kept in the refrigerator for a few hours before you poach them, but once poached, they should be unwrapped and served immediately.
Tags: Around My French Table
At Home in Paris
In the Kitchen
Soups & Starters
| June 20, 2011 5:06 AM
Hi Dorie, I always worry about using plastic wrap in this way, as you hear about the chemicals seeping through, also in France it is almost impossible to buy decent plastic wrap that even sticks to itself! Is there a type you would recommend that you can buy in France that isn't toxic?
I wonder if these were originally made using something else? Maybe intestines or a caul of some sort? Sounds delicious and I love eggs cooked anyway. These remind me also of coddled eggs, which were the rage with our parents. Egg coddlers can be found in any thrift store, its probably time for them to make a come-back!
Pam @ From Apples To Zucchini
| June 20, 2011 7:37 AM
So pretty and ingenious! I would have never thought in a million years to use plastic wrap! I believe next weekend's breakfast has been decided for me : )
| June 20, 2011 8:44 AM
Dorie, one of the things I love about you is the way you make up new words. "Cheffy"? "Play around-able"? Not to mention my favourite "do-aheadable". :) the ruffly egg is on my list to try over the summer. Thanks for posting it so i don't have to lug my AMFT to France with me :)
| June 20, 2011 11:13 AM
This looks absolutely wonderful. I can't wait to try this technique for cooking the eggs. I wonder how many I'll ruin before I actually get it! Thanks for sharing!
| June 20, 2011 1:09 PM
When I first made these eggs (thanks to Dorie's French Table cookbook) all I could think about was catering again and serving these morsels. Wonderful technique!
| June 20, 2011 1:18 PM
oh yumm, cant beat new twists to cooking - speaking of, check out this new show I'm working on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3J824ZuGXA if you have a sec
| June 20, 2011 1:50 PM
Just made these--so easy! Served them on whole wheat toast with mashed ripe avocado and a squeeze of lemon, salt & pepper & red pepper flakes.
| June 20, 2011 2:13 PM
I'm a nut about a poached egg on anything, especially salads and veggies. But I'm with Angela in wondering about the plastic wrap...is there a brand you prefer? A cheffie favorite that's designed for sous-vide purposes? Or do you just use good-old Saran Wrap?
At any rate, I'm looking forward to putting one of these pretty eggs atop fresh, local asparagus tonight! Merci!
| June 20, 2011 5:13 PM
Oh how I wish I'd have known about these before making my Dalmatian Tartines! They would have looked so much prettier than the hand-poached eggs I made. Ah well - live and learn. Now I know for next time. Thanks for the tip! By the way, you asked for serving suggestions, so here's my post (with non-ruffly eggs, obviously):
| June 21, 2011 2:56 AM
The chef that I saw do it, perhaps the chef who created the method was Juan Mari Arzak at his Michelin 3 star restaurant in San Sebastian. Arzak's method was to "grease" the plastic wrap with equal parts melted pork fat and white truffle oil. Then hang the eggs overnight. He explained that the raw whites infuse with the flavor of pork and truffle before you cook them. Garlic oil, bacon fat or melted fois gras all seem ripe for experimenting in this method.
tt in nyc
| June 21, 2011 9:26 PM
Brilliant! I'm an eggs anytime kind of girl and love new reasons and ways to eat them- I'm so jealous of your french eggs. Maybe since you have lived there so long now you can explain the inexplicable obsession with tinned asparagus in france/spain?? I was at a "gourmet" market in madrid and there was nearly an entire aisle devoted to the canned squishy stuff!!
| June 22, 2011 6:57 AM
Glad I read the whole post, because the word "easy" should have been in the title as well- I am making this with asparagus and prosciutto for tapas night tonight!
Martha in KS
| June 22, 2011 7:01 AM
I can't wait to try this technique for my fave Eggs Benedict. When I poach eggs so much white floats away - this is a perfect solution. Thanks for sharing.
| June 22, 2011 3:29 PM
True to my cautious nature, I was skeptical when I read "plastic" and "saucepan" but it sounds really yummy (if not a little challenging). I can't wait to try this on my own! Does it taste any different from a regular poached egg? From the looks of it, it sounds like a poached yoke with the egg whites of eggs over easy.
| June 24, 2011 2:42 PM
I've never seen ruffly eggs. What a fun idea. My daughter loves boiled eggs. That would be a fun way to spice them up some.
| June 25, 2011 12:10 PM
I just made these for breakfast - absolutely perfect and so pretty! I didn't have any string to tie the pouches, but the plastic wrap I had clings quite well and the twists held nicely.
What a great way to make several (to many) poached eggs at once!
| June 25, 2011 7:03 PM
Really cute & very tasty. The day after I saw this post & tried them I read about this very technique in The Lucky Peach. Cool.
| July 4, 2011 8:20 PM
I did it. Only took twice but really worth it. Can't wait til my sister in law comes and serve this up with Louisiana seasoning.
| July 7, 2011 5:42 PM
I am in love with this ruffled egg. I thought I had known every way an egg could be served. Soft boiled or poached are my favorites and I might even have to have these for dinner tonight.
| July 8, 2011 2:13 PM
Oh my... what a beauty! This may have to be my weekend project. :-)
| August 5, 2011 11:16 AM
This recipe is very similar to the Egg Blossom recipe in the Modernist Cuisine cookbook, except that the other recommends using a sous-vide machine to guarantee that the eggs don't over-cook. I like sprinkling some crispy lardons over the asparagus before serving.
| January 24, 2013 7:55 AM
Plastic and heat
Should never meet.
replied to comment from elise
| January 24, 2013 8:25 PM
Elise- I think that is a very sensible rule- thanks so much for writing in.
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