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Tag: eggs

An omelette for all seasons

A beautifully cooked omelette is one of life’s greatest pleasures. As simple as an omelette may sound, it is not always easy to achieve the perfect ‘cuisson‘ (cooking). It must be light, fluffy and velvety soft, just as you would imagine it being served on a silver tray in your dream hotel.

One of our house guests earlier this month, Mathieu (see previous post), is a master at cooking omelettes. We would literally queue up at the kitchen table every morning kindly placing our orders – omelette nature for Thorir, omelette with herbs for Isabelle, omelette with cheese for my husband. My favourite one was the tarragon and Saint-Nectaire cheese omelette. The ingredients just happened to be ready and available on the kitchen counter, so Mathieu made an improvised mix. It tasted like a truffled omelette, only nuttier and more aromatic due to the exquisite Saint-Nectaire cheese. Pure delight.

It is always a pleasure to have guests, but even better when they are marvelous omelette cooking guest hosts.

Ingredients:
3 free-range eggs
10 g butter
A small handful of chopped fresh tarragon
A few slices of Saint-Nectaire cheese (finely sliced and crust removed – you can use any of your favourite cheese)
Salt and black pepper to season

Crack three eggs in a bowl and whisk eggs until slightly frothy, about 3-4 minutes. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter starts sizzling, pour the eggs in the pan. Using a spatula, move the eggs in a circular motion for a few seconds and allow eggs to cook on a low heat. Sprinkle salt, pepper, chopped tarragon and sliced Saint-Nectaire cheese. When the cheese starts to melt, take the pan off the heat and gently roll the omelette on both sides. Flip over, return to heat and cook for 5 seconds until slightly golden. Serve immediately on a plate.

Omelettes are best served with a green salad.

Eggs Benedict

‘Eggs Benedict is the star, the Marilyn Monroe of brunch’ wrote A.A. Gill in ‘Breakfast at the Wolseley’. He is so right.

This decadent wonder dish, rich and voluptuous, is always a special meal, that’s why I made it last week for my husband’s birthday brunch. I decided to make my own English muffins, and they turned out exactly how I wanted them to be. Light, airy, and golden. I often hear rumours about Hollandaise sauce, on how hard it is made, whether it ‘splits’ or not, but I have to admit I find it rather easy. Perhaps I have had good practice, it takes me less than 10 minutes to make a good hollandaise. It’s really about timing and temperature. Once you got the hang of it, it’s easy. Egg poaching is successful if you stick to one golden rule – once you put them in the boiling water, leave them alone for 3 minutes and put a lid on. I added a few asparagus to this dish as they were in season and go so well with the sauce.

Ingredients (serves 4)

8 slices bacon (fried)
8 organic eggs (poached)
4 English muffins (see recipe)
12 asparagus – base trimed (optional)

Poached eggs:
8 organic eggs
2 tsp white distilled vinegar

Poached eggs:
In a shallow pan of boiling water, add 2 tsp of vinegar. Prepare your eggs by breaking them into little cups/pots so it’s easier to pour into the boiling water. When the water is boiling, pour in the eggs in different areas (maximum four at a time – or the water temperature will get cooler). Leave them alone, cover with a lid for 3 minutes, then check if they need a bit of ‘pushing and shoving’ to make their form rounder. You can use a large slotted spoon for this. Depending on how well you like your eggs cooked, 3-5 minutes should complete the task. When ready spoon each egg at a time onto a plate. Set aside.

Hollandaise sauce:
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp cold water
175 grs clarified butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

Whisk the egg yolks with the water until light and foamy in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk non-stop until it becomes smooth and creamy, add the butter slowly and whisk away. I have a little trick – I lift the bowl on and off the heat regularly, so there is no chance I overcook the sauce. Finally add the lemon juice and continue whisking. The sauce should be creamy and fluffy. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

Home-made muffins

English muffins:
300 ml lukewarm water
560 grs plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 egg whites

In a large bowl, pour the lukewarm water and mix first, the yeast, then the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well until smooth and add the stiff egg whites. Mix well. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour, if it’s too dry, add a bit of water. On a floured surface, knead the dough for 10-15 minutes. It’s quite an exercise, but well worth it. The dough should be elastic and silky. Place in an oil coated bowl (just rub a bit of oil on the sides and base of the bowl) and cover with a clean cloth. Let rise 1 hour in a warm place. Once risen, roll out again onto a floured surface and shape either with a round cookie cutter, a glass or simply with your hands (8 cm width and 2 cm thickness). Let the dough rest for 30 minutes and you can start frying them in a slightly oiled frying pan 4 minutes on each sides on medium heat.

Fry the bacon. Cook the asparagus in salted boiling water for 8 minutes max.

Finally, when all your ingredients are ready, all you have to do is assemble. First the muffin (toasted is better), buttered or not, add the bacon, then the poached egg, the hollandaise, the asparagus. Now you can indulge.

Eggs and soldiers


‘Eggs and soldiers’ is a perfect meal whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We often have it on Wednesdays because the kids don’t have school that day, and we love going to the charming Saint-Vivien de Médoc food market to buy fresh farm eggs from the fromagerie (cheese store). When you buy your eggs, you have to specify that you want to eat them soft-boiled. You will then be offered extra-fresh farm eggs to be eaten ‘à la coque’ (soft-boiled) within 5 days.
I like to serve the eggs with ‘ham’ soldiers (buttered sliced toast with ham). A truly satisfying meal.

Ingredients

4 fresh farm eggs
1 loaf of bread or baguette
4 slices ham
Butter
Salt

Bring a small pan of water to the boil. Place the eggs gently in the boiling water and simmer for 4 minutes. In the same time, toast the bread, butter lightly and slice into ‘soldiers’. Cut strips of ham and place on each piece of bread.

Serve egg in egg cup with the buttered ‘ham’ soldiers. Salt egg to your taste.

Quiche Lorraine

Most French people in my entourage know how to make a good quiche Lorraine – this dish is as classic as a baguette and is part of the french culinary heritage. I did find out recently that it was originally German, but somehow turned French when cheese was added to the recipe in the Lorraine region. It’s the perfect light lunch to have, some sort of comfort food for most. My father-in-law loves this quiche, and I serve it with a spinach salad, roasted pine nuts, radishes and avocado. Simple and delightful. As I am a busy mom, I use Herta’s pate feuilleutée (ready-rolled puff pastry), the quality is excellent. But when I have time, I will make my own pastry. It is best to use your pastry straight from the fridge when it is still cold – I find the results are better. Nothing beats a home-cooked quiche Lorraine fresh from the oven. And here’s the best part, it takes about 10 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients (for 4-6)

200 grs chopped bacon
4 eggs
150 ml crème fraiche
2 handful or grated Emmenthal or Gruyère
100 ml milk
5 grs ground nutmeg
salt and pepper

Pastry

230 grs sheet of puff pastry (bought in store)

Pre-heat your oven 220° degrees celsius.

Fry the lardons without any oil until golden and cooked. Place aside on kitchen towel to absorb excess fat. In a bowl, mix the eggs, milk, crème fraiche, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Whisk the mixture till it becomes light and slightly frothy. Roll out your pastry and line your baking dish. Pour the egg/milk mixture, sprinkle the grated cheese and bacon evenly. Bake for 30 minutes and leave to rest 5 minutes before serving.

To serve with spinach salad with roasted pine nuts, radishes and avocado.

Ingredients

200 grs baby spinach leaves
A handful of pine nuts
6 radishes (finely sliced)
1 avocado (chopped)
5 tbps Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
1 tsp mustard
Salt and pepper

Prepare the vinaigrette in a salad bowl, first add olive oil, whisk in the vinegar, then the mustard, followed by salt and pepper. In a frying pan, place the pine nuts and roast for 5 minutes on a low heat or until golden. Leave to cool. Toss in the washed spinach leaves, sliced radishes, chopped avocado and sprinkle with the pine nuts.

Salade Piémontaise

The ‘salade Piémontaise’ (Piedmontese salad) sounds very Italian but is in fact a classic French bistrot recipe. I loved buying this salad at my favourite local deli in Paris called ‘Davoli’ (Rue Cler, 7ème). Their’s was excellent and we loved having saucisson sec sandwiches with baguette bread, butter and crunchy pickles.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

2 large potatoes
1 large carrot
100 grams peas
1 tomato (chopped in cubes)
A large handful of finely chopped pickles
4 eggs (hard-boiled)
4-5 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard
2 tbsp crème fraîche
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
Parsley (a handful, chopped)
Salt and pepper

Boil the eggs until hard. Set aside to cool. Boil the potatoes and carrots until tender (I pre-slice them so they will cook faster). Add the frozen peas during the last minutes so they don’t get too soft. Drain. When they are ready, set aside to cool and chop the potatoes and carrots in coarse cubes.
Chop the tomato in cubes, set aside. Now you can make a small vinaigrette with the olive oil, mustard and vinegar, salt & pepper.
Toss everything together in a salad dish. Add the vinaigrette, mayonnaise, pickles and crème fraîche. The quality of the mayonnaise very important. Make sure you buy a nice rich mayonnaise, preferably sold in the fresh department. Mix well then add the boiled eggs (cut in 4), the parsley, salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated before serving. Et voilà!

Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs - the ultimate snack.

I simply love a good scotch egg. A fresh boiled egg wrapped in a golden breadcrumb and sausage wrapping. It’s the ultimate snack or meal for anytime of the day.

Makes 8

8 organic farm eggs (to be boiled)
2 eggs (for the dipping)
8 sausages (remove the skin)
200 grams white breadcrumbs
lemon zest of half a lemon
1 tablespoon mustard
parsley (finely chopped)
50 grams flour
Frying oil (I use frial or canola)
salt & pepper

Boil you eggs in boiling water for 8 minutes. Cool under cold water, peel the eggs and place aside.
Prepare the sausage meat by squeezing the sausages – take a sharp knife and slice them open. Put in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, salt, pepper, chopped parsley and mix well. Shape 8 balls of the sausage mixture and flatten on parchment paper. Place the egg in the middle of the flattened sausage meat mixture and wrap the egg slowly until it is evenly covered (don’t cover your egg too thick or it won’t cook through properly). Repeat with the other eggs.
Now you can prepare the 3 ingredients to assemble your eggs. Beat the 2 eggs, prepare the flour on a plate and the breadcrumbs in another plate. First roll the egg in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs (I use white sliced untoasted sandwich bread that I blitz in the food processor). Repeat again.
Fry the eggs in the oil in a heavy-based pan for 5-6 minutes, or until it is golden.
Serve with HP sauce, ketchup or simply nothing!