Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Daring Cooks: Poaching Foods
Jenn from Jenn Cuisine and Jill (jillouci) have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose the 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.
Eggs Benedict and poached eggs are classics. I've been poaching eggs for years, always looking for the method that gives the best results. One key factor is to use the freshest eggs possible.
Several years ago, one of my friends, who raises chickens, brought some just-laid eggs to class. Those eggs poached beautifully! No run-away egg filaments to spoil the view. However, not everyone has access to such fresh eggs.
In researching this challenge, I read one of Alton Brown's recipes where he suggested submerging custard cups in a pot of water, adding vinegar and salt, then gently pouring the to-be-poached egg into the awaiting cup. Having nothing to lose, I tried out this technique. End result: near-perfect poached eggs. Definitely a technique I will use again and again.
Another component to this challenge was to make Hollandaise sauce. I've always used the double-boiler method, but this time, using the same Alton Brown recipe, I made my sauce directly over the flame. This technique requires attention and control, and it worked just fine.
For this challenge, I also made English muffins from scratch. These muffins were a snap to make and turned out tender and tasty. (That post appeared on 13 Dec.)
Roasted asparagus, with a Hollandaise dressing, completed our dinner, one of the best we've recently enjoyed.
An alternative to Eggs Benedict is Oeufs en Meurette, where the eggs are poached in a red wine sauce and the sauce is reduced and served along with the eggs. When I was in Tours several years ago, I had this dish at a local restaurant. It was super delicious, so the next time I open a bottle of red wine, I will give this version a try.
The good thing about this challenge was that I was able to try out a new poaching technique, one that was very successful. I can see more poached eggs in our future.
Stop by the Daring Kitchen to see all the results and recipes.