|Two eggs enter, one and a half left! - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
|Breakfast hash with CSA goodness and sunchokes - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Stuff got Real when I was trying some different methods to poach eggs. I know poaching eggs isn't difficult, it's a basic cooking method everyone should probably know, and while I've done it in the traditional low simmering water with vinegar, my poached eggs always look like a righteous mess. I've tried steaming eggs in oiled ramekins, letting indirect heat do the poaching -- this works, but you get oddly perfect shaped egg-pucks, since they form to the shape of the little bowls they cooked in. I've tried methods using the microwave, but that feels like Egg Deer Hunter -- sometimes it's fine, but sometimes it's a catastrophic mess, and that's stressful.
The low-heat, slow cooking method of sous vide has of course been all the rage these last few years, and for good reason, you get some really tender results from low temperature cooking. I looked at an old copy of Lucky Peach, the magazine put out by Momofuku's resident food-wizard, David Chang. He had this lovely article about slow-poached eggs. He described cooking the eggs in their shells using indirect heat, either a funky balancing act using double bowls in simmering water, or a steam basket. I tried the steam basket method but to Chang's point, he said it's hard to control the heat of the water on the stove -- you need really consistent low heat, like 60-65 degrees, which is crazy-low. My burners kept on their lowest setting, even using the steam basket, still overcooked the eggs for the most part. This is where Thunderdome came in -- several eggs entered the metal realm of battle, and very few made it to the breakfast plate. Not that the overcooked eggs were thrown out -- it just meant we had a bunch of soft-boiled eggs for the week.
This was by no means a failure. We still enjoyed oddly-cooked eggs over our breakfast hash, the meal was toasted with some lovely bubbles. I went for a straight-up raw egg yolk over my hash because I'm gangstah that way and it looked pretty for the photo. Despite the less-than-perfect results, it still got me thinking of other ways to slow-poach eggs in the shell without having a sous vide cooker. Heaven knows I don't need another gadget in an already overstuffed kitchen. I'm thinking of doing this again using a crock pot set to low, filled with water and a steamer basket set inside with some eggs. The worst that happens is I wind up with more soft-boiled eggs, but if it works, I'll definitely post the results. Consider Egg Thunderdome a work in progress!
|Celebrating Egg Thunderdome in style, with classy bubbles - Photos by Wasabi Prime|