Poached Perfection!

Poached Perfection!

Photography by Darren Bester

 

Have you watched the movie Run Away Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? Where she likes her eggs however her boyfriend at the time likes his… I would do a lot of things for love, but I would not compromise how I like my eggs …! 2 soft poached eggs please and don’t be shy with the Hollandaise Sauce!

Last week, I gave you my top tips on frying the perfect sunny side up egg. This week, we look at tips on poaching to perfection! Poaching the perfect egg can be daunting but if you follow these guidelines, you should be plating up poached eggs to be proud of:-

 

Darren Bester Photography - Cape Town Photographer - Easter Styled Shoot-77

  • Fresh eggs are a non negotiable! Even if you follow all the other steps but your eggs are not fresh, your end result will be disappointing
  • Ideally, eggs should be room temperature
  • Use a deep large pot
  • For every litre of water, add 15ml vinegar (aim for close on 2 litres of water if possible). The vinegar helps the white of the egg to set. Lack of vinegar will result in your egg not shaping nicely so it is a vital ingredient
  • Bring the water to the boil and then add your vinegar
  • Drop the heat to a gentle simmer
  • Stir in a circular motion inside your pot to create a whirlpool
  • Crack your egg and gently drop from the centre of the pot into the whirlpool
  • Set a timer for ± 2 minutes (for soft poached)
  • Leave the egg alone – do not be tempted to touch it
  • When the timer go’s off, remove your little beauty with a slotted spoon and if not serving immediately, carefully place in a bowl of cold water (this will stop the cooking process)
  • If serving immediately, trim the egg white by cutting off any stragglers and season with salt & pepper
  • Never add the salt to your pot during the cooking process –this breaks down egg proteins
  • If you placed your eggs in cold water and you are now ready to plate up – all you need to do is gently place your poached eggs in hot salted water for 30 seconds to heat through, drain with a slotted spoon, trim the egg white, season and enjoy!
  • Note: You can poach your egg a few hours in advance and leave in cold water in the fridge until required – this helps eliminate pressure & ensures everyone can have breakfast at the same time 🙂

 

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Photography by Darren Bester

 

Yield: 4

Ingredients 

8 Quail eggs

8 slices Parma Ham

Baby Gem Lettuce or Crisp Lettuce or Cos Lettuce

8 Ciabatta Bread Slices

Parmesan Cheese for garnishing

For the dressing: 

1 egg

1 clove garlic

2tsp Dijon Mustard

2 tbsp lemon juice

3 anchovy fillets

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup vegetable oil

Method: 

Cut the ciabatta bread as thinly as possible, place on a baking tray and bake at 100 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes, until crisp and golden, remove from the oven and set aside.  Soft boil the quail eggs (2 minutes) and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process.  Peel the eggs carefully and set aside.  Place the Parma Ham on a baking sheet and bake at 140 degrees for 5 – 8 minutes, until crisp, remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Shred your lettuce and place on the centre of each plate.  For the dressing – place the egg, garlic, dijon mustard, anchovy, lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese in a food processor and blend to combine, slowly add the oil, drop by drop until it emulsifies and forms a mayonnaise consistency, season to taste.

Drizzle sauce over your salad leaves generously, top the leaves with the ham and your home made ciabatta croutons, drop your quail eggs into hot water to heat through for 30 seconds, drain, season and plate. Garnish with parmesan shavings & enjoy, with a nice glass of wine !

Notes: If living in Cape Town, you can buy quail eggs and anchovies from Giovanni’s in Green Point.  Soft boiled quail eggs are so tricky to peel, so buy a few extra as you are bound to have a few ‘casualty’s’ like I did.   If making this salad for dinner at home, opt for normal eggs, they provide more sauce for your salad, they easier to peel and more affordable.  You can make your croutons a few days ahead of time and bake your Parma Ham a few hours in advance.  The dressing can also be made a day or 2 in advance.  The dressing was a big hit at my dinner party, the recipe for the dressing was taken from one of my Donna Hay cookbooks.  A great dinner party starter as all the prep is done ahead of time so all you have to do is plate up and serve!

MarthaWho - Caesar Salad-1