Friday, April 9, 2010

Lyndsay's First Poached Egg

I just hate health food.
~Julia Child

So, Lyndsay and I were making plans for when she was in town. I thought, maybe it would be fun to go out somewhere to eat. But I was glad when she suggested we just eat at my house. It can be so much more intimate and comfortable and... homey to eat in.

Milling around the grocery store, I was trying to decide what to make when the spinach caught my eye. Mmmm... perfect. Creamed spinach with a poached egg on an English muffin, topped with Hollandaise sauce. Yes, it's rich... that's the point!

I learned to make this by checking out "The French Chef" from the library. Delightful series. Full of character. In this one segment, Julia starts choking on a green bean. Nowadays, that would have been cut so fast, but then, they just kept rolling!

So here is the basic method. This is not a recipe I measure for, so I'm really not going to pretend I do. You can experiment with proportions until you find what you like.

Creamed Spinach

In a pot, bring some water to a boil. Salt lightly. When boiling, poach the spinach by adding a few generous handfuls and covering in the hot water. Let poach for one minute, then strain. Leave spinach to cool.
In a small skillet, heat some olive oil and butter. Add a slice of chopped shallot, and saute for a few minutes. Then, add some diced celery (maybe a tiny handful). At this point, it is fun to deglaze the pan with a little white wine. Then, push most of the water out of the spinach, and chop until very fine. Add the spinach to the pan, along with a spoonful of flour. Let the flour toast a couple of minutes, mixing everything together. If you want to add liquid, you can add a little of the water you poached the spinach in, which is now full of vitamins.
Remove the pan from heat and add cream. A few tablespoons is good, but everyone likes a different level of creaminess. You can always thin it out with spinach water or chicken broth. Season to taste with kosher salt, white pepper, and if you like, a little nutmeg or tabasco sauce for spice.

Hollandaise Sauce

Start off with the juice of about 1/2 a lemon. Reduce in a pan over low heat. Remove pan from heat and let cool completely. Add two egg yolks and a pat of butter. Stir with lemon juice to combine. Return to very low heat, whisking briskly until everything melts, then starts to thicken. Remove from heat from time-to-time to make sure yolks are not overcooking. They should be thick, but smooth. When the desired consistency is reached, remove from heat and add 1/2 cup melted butter. Do this in little dribbles at first, still whisking, then increase amount. Whisk until sauce is very smooth. Season with salt and white pepper. If sauce is too thick, you can add more lemon juice to thin out.

Poached Egg

Bring some water to a simmer. Add a dash of vinegar to hold egg together. When water is simmering, add egg. I like to use a little tea cup to slide the egg in oh-so-gently, right next to the water. Allow the egg to simmer approximately 4 minutes. Remove egg with a round spatula or large spoon. Rinse in tepid water to remove vinegar.

Happy Dining!

Find something you are passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.
~Julia Child