During a lovely brunch at Can Can a while back, I was entranced with two perfectly poached eggs slathered in hollandaise sauce. In a slightly more humble rendition, I'm pleased to share my discovery of how to really poach an egg. That is, to boil it in water without any gadgets.
- 4-6 yukon gold or red potatoes
- 1-2 leeks or 1 vidalia onion
- 1 large sweet potato
- bunch of asparagus
- generous pinches sea salt, rosemary, thyme & cumin
- drizzle of olive oil
- crumbled bacon or pancetta
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
- Pinch cayenne
- Pinch salt
- While the veggie hash bakes on 400 for 20-25 min:
- Vigorously whisk egg yolks with lemon juice until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble.
- Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt.
- Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use over poached eggs. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.
- Get out a skillet, something with a depth of at least 3 inches because you want 2-3 inches of water. Add a pinch of salt and bring the water to a boil.
- As your water is heating up, crack your egg into a shallow cup or bowl. We're doing this because: 1) We don't want to break the yolk and 2) we don't want any funky eggs.
- Before you add the egg to the water, reduce the heat of your water so it is right on the edge of not boiling anymore. Gently ease your egg from the cup into the water. Just let it slide out.
- Poaching eggs look whimsical; those flowing strands of white are nothing to be worried about. The amount of time you leave it in the water depends on how firm you want your yolk. Generally speaking, it's 3 minutes for medium firmness, 2 minutes if you like them runny, and 4 minutes if you like a firmer yolk.
- Scoop out your egg with a slotted spoon so it can drain. Even if you like your yolk runny, gently finger-touch a thicker part of the egg white to make sure it's firm, as you lift it from the water. If it's not, sink it back in the water a little while longer.
- Spoon your egg onto a paper towel and gently pat the top of the egg to absorb the excess liquid.
- Now spatula that beauty atop the veggie hash in your bowl, sprinkle crumbled bacon or pancetta & drizzle your hollandaise. I like to garnish with fresh rosemary, especially in the sad absence of asparagus in my bowl this time.