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.